Attorneys for Alleged Church Sex Abuse Victim Ask Court to Unseal Deposition of Accused Priest
By Kimberly Curth
WVUE-TV, Channel 8
December 28, 2020
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - In a recently filed motion, attorneys for an alleged church sex abuse victim say former priest Lawrence Hecker “is still very much alive, vibrant, lives alone, and is a danger to young boys until he draws his final breath.”
As part of the Archdiocese of New Orleans’ ongoing federal bankruptcy case, plaintiff’s attorneys are now asking the court to unseal Hecker’s deposition as well as related documents.
“In America, there is a presumption that things should be open in a courtroom, so, what is a compelling reason for this not to be released is a question the judge is going to have to answer. So, the church has to come up with a reason, which I’m struggling with, as to why this should not be released,” said Fox 8 legal analyst Joe Raspanti.
Hecker was on the church’s 2018 list of clergy credibly accused of child sex abuse. On March 3, 2020, we tracked him down.
“Reporter: we’re trying to get in touch with you about new court filings that allege you are a serial predator. Do you have any response to that? Hecker: no comment.
Reporter: Do you continue to receive financial support from the Archdiocese of New Orleans? Hecker: No comment.
Reporter: Did you sexually assault children? Hecker: No comment. Reporter: Do you have any comment? Hecker: No, bye.”
According to the plaintiff’s motion,”This case relates to matters of utmost public concern, the sexual abuse of JW Doe and many other children by a living, diseased pedophile (Father Lawrence Hecker), and the cover-up of that abuse by the Archdiocese of New Orleans (“The Archdiocese”).
Lawyers for the alleged victim also argue “The Archdiocese cannot prove that there is ‘good cause’ for shielding the deposition and documents from the public.”
They add, “No showing can be made that disclosure of the deposition and documents will injure any individual’s privacy interests, because quite simply, this deposition and the documents attached to it establish grotesque felonies committed by Hecker that systematically were covered up by The Archdiocese for several decades.”
“Since this deposition was already taken, I think the plaintiffs are in a good position to say we’ve got it, we’re going to redact the names of the victims, that’s the only thing that you would say is an issue, well we will redact those names, but we want this to get out, so, there is no real reason for it not to be released,” Raspanti said.
We reached out to the Archdiocese of New Orleans for comment. They released the following statement:
“For decades now, the Archdiocese of New Orleans has consistently and very publically asked individuals to come forward with information regarding clergy abuse of minors. The Archdiocese has worked with victims and law enforcement for many, many years in regards to not only Larry Hecker but other accused clergy and will continue to do so.
The Archdiocese is aware of the Court pleading filed by three lawyers on behalf of JW Doe, who as reported in the media came forward in a 2019 lawsuit to allege one incident of abuse by Larry Hecker in 1968 when he would have been in middle school. A legal response to that pleading will be timely filed with the Court and it is neither fair nor professional for this matter to be tried in the media beforehand.”