Prosecutor says Lawrence Hecker admitted to watching child pornography, as new accuser shares story

WDSU [New Orleans]

January 19, 2024

By Aubrey Killion

A 92-year-old former priest, Lawrence Hecker, who was arrested accused of rape and kidnapping was set to be in criminal court Friday.

Hecker didn’t show up after his attorneys said he was in the hospital and requested Hecker get out of jail to get more care.

Prosecutors said if Hecker returned home, kids would be in danger. They said Hecker should not be in front of a computer after Hecker admitted under oath he views child pornography.

This comes as another man accusing Hecker of sexual abuse in a separate case felt it was time to tell his story.

The man whom WDSU is not identifying has filed a claim against Hecker in the bankruptcy case.

He spoke about the graphic abuse he says he endured. He compared it to skin cancer.

“I put the scar tissue on and buried it,” he said. “My scar tissue I guess was my protection.”

He protected himself by burying the memories.

“It still hurts when you feel all that and you see it all it comes back to the memories. You always think you could have done something different. I think he should still pay the price in this life. It is going to pale in comparison to when he meets Christ when he closes his eyes,” he said.

He’s left the Catholic Church for good and is calling on Archbishop Gregory Aymond to resign.

“I am not a prisoner of religion right now,” he said. “I am at rest now. I am at peace with myself. I no longer blame myself for the things that happened. I am saved. I know my eternity is guaranteed to me. You see more looking through the rear-view mirror than you do looking through your windshield as far as stuff that has happened.”

Survivors and their attorneys have fought to make sealed records linked to Lawrence Hecker public.

While Aymond said he reported Hecker to law enforcement, he has continued to decline interviews with WDSU.

When WDSU asked Aymond if Hecker should be in jail before Hecker was arrested, he responded: “I have Mass this evening,” Aymond said.

Hecker was arrested in September and accused of raping and kidnapping a teen in the 1970s.

Court records allege Hecker is a confessed child sex abuser and rapist.

They also show a memo to Aymond in 2012 stating this is the 9th allegation on record against Hecker.

Kathryn Robb with Child USAdvocacy pushes for change nationwide.

“I think Bishop Aymond has blood on his hands. He looked the other way while children were in grave danger from this perpetrator,” Robb said.

Robb says most survivors don’t come forward until they are between the ages of 50-70 years old, many take the secret to their grave.

Something this man planned on doing, until now. While he’s left the Catholic church, he still has placed his faith in Christ and says by telling his story, he hopes it heals any survivor’s scars, too.

“After I entered into that relationship, and I was saved, it made all this a lot easier. It gets me to the point where I can give a testimony and a message and talk about what happened to me. I just hope people have an open enough mind to give it a shot,” he said.

A spokesperson for the archdiocese issued the following statement:

“The Archdiocese of New Orleans continues to cooperate with law enforcement in its ongoing investigation into Lawrence Hecker. He was removed from priestly ministry in 2002, seven years before Archbishop Aymond became Archbishop of New Orleans. As previously stated, the archdiocese reported Hecker to law enforcement agencies multiple times over the years. In 2018, Archbishop Aymond released Hecker’s name as part of the list of clergy removed from ministry for abuse of minors. Inflammatory and disparaging comments about the archdiocese and Archbishop Aymond do not change the facts of the situation but serve only to further confuse the public and malign the church as we attempt to move forward and bring closure to victims through our Chapter 11 proceedings.”