Saints emails become issue in Archdiocese of New Orleans abuse litigation

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Well, if any NFL team were to find itself caught in the gears of the ongoing abuse litigation against the Catholic Church, it would make sense for it to be the Saints.

Via the Associated Press, the Saints hope to shield from public view “hundreds of emails that allegedly show team executives doing public relations damage control for the area’s Roman Catholic archdiocese to help it contain the fallout from a burgeoning sexual abuse crisis.”

Attorneys for plaintiffs suing the Archdiocese of New Orleans claim that 276 documents obtained in the litigation show that the Saints aided the church in its “pattern and practice of concealing its crimes.” Through their attorneys, the Saints dispute that the team helped the church in concealing criminal activity, and that the emails were intended to be private and shouldn’t be “fodder for the public.”

Of course, that’s not how civil litigation works. Plenty of otherwise private communications end up becoming public through the discovery process — and through the attachment of such documents to court filings. Although certain private communications are sufficiently sensitive to be shielded from public view, the bar is high.

The Associated Press has filed paperwork seeking the release of the emails, arguing that “[t]his case does not involve intensely private individuals who are dragged into the spotlight but well-known mega-institutions that collect millions of dollars from local residents to support their activities.”

A lawyer for the Archdiocese of New Orleans calls the effort to publicize the emails as the “proverbial witch hunt with respect to decades-old abuse.”

Eventually, a ruling will be made on whether the emails will be released to the public.

10 responses to “Saints emails become issue in Archdiocese of New Orleans abuse litigation

  1. Demario Davis talks all about he how he likes to use his platform as a Saints player to promote important causes, yes? At least that’s what he says in his commercial.

    Surely no cause could be more important than the safety of children. Will we hear from Demario? It’s time to put your money where your mouth is and speak up.

  2. Why would the team get involved in it? If they did, when they seemingly had no connection to it, then they deserve every bit of critical scrutiny they get.

  3. While there is current litigation relative to the New Orleans Archdiocese and clergy sex abuse, our comments are limited only to the scope of our involvement. The New Orleans Saints organization has always had a very strong relationship with the Archdiocese. The Archdiocese reached out to a number of community and civic minded leaders seeking counsel on handling the pending media attention that would come with the release of the clergy names in November of 2018. Greg Bensel, Senior Vice President of Communications for the New Orleans Saints, was contacted and offered input on how to work with the media. The advice was simple and never wavering. Be direct, open and fully transparent, while making sure that all law enforcement agencies were alerted. The New Orleans Saints, Greg Bensel and Mrs. Gayle Benson were and remain offended, disappointed and repulsed by the actions of certain past clergy. We remain steadfast in support of the victims who have suffered and pray for their continued healing.
    Further, the Saints have no interest in concealing information from the press or public. At the current discovery stage in the case of Doe v. Archdiocese, the Saints, through their counsel, have merely requested the court to apply the normal rules of civil discovery to the documents that the Saints produced and delivered to Mr. Doe’s counsel. Until the documents are admitted into evidence at a public trial or hearing in the context of relevant testimony by persons having knowledge of the documents and the events to which they pertain, the use of the documents should be limited to the parties to the case and their attorneys. If admitted into evidence of the case, the documents and the testimony pertaining to them will become part of the public record of the trial of the case.

  4. Man I hope this isn’t true.

    It really doesn’t make much sense. Why would the Saints do that?

  5. “The advice was simple and never wavering. Be direct, open and fully transparent, while making sure that all law enforcement agencies were alerted,” the team said.

    If you gave them advice to be transparent, then why are fighting the release the emails? Seems like the Saints/NFL is not being transparent…

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