Bond set at $75,000 for former Slidell priest arrested in second child sex abuse case

NEW ORLEANS (LA) [New Orleans, LA]

October 26, 2022

By Sara Pagones

Bond has been set at $75,000 for Patrick Wattigny, a former Catholic priest who was booked into the St. Tammany Parish Jail Tuesday on a count of molestation of a juvenile, according to the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Wattigny, 55, was still in jail mid-afternoon Wednesday.

This is the second child sex abuse arrest for Wattigny, who was formerly pastor of St. Luke the Evangelist Catholic Church in Slidell. He was arrested two years ago at a home in owns in Georgia on a single count of molestation involving a 15-year-old boy, and has been out on a $150,000 bond.

He pleaded not guilty in St. Tammany Parish in March of 2021 and is scheduled to go to trial in that case in January.

In August, a second accuser, now an adult, contacted investigators to say that Wattigny had abused him while he was an elementary school student at a Covington-area Catholic school, according to the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office.

The Sheriff’s Office did not name the school. 

Wattigny, who was ordained in 1994, worked at several parishes in the metro area, including St. Peter in Covington. He has been permanently removed from the ministry, according to the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

Wattigny, who also served as chaplain at Pope John Paul II High School in Slidell, resigned from that position in the summer of 2020 at the request of the archdiocese. That action happened after Wattigny resumed communicating with a student after the archdiocese had ordered him to stop following complaints from the student’s mother about inappropriate text messages.

Wattigny was ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation and attend a 30-day retreat, after which he allegedly disclosed to the archdiocese the abuse of a different boy, beginning in 2013 shortly after his posting to St. Luke.