Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 27 No. 9
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.

Lawyers Allege Saints Helped Church Cut Accused Clergy Pedophile List

Gayle Benson, a devout Catholic, is close friends with the area's archbishop
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Gayle Benson, a devout Catholic, is close friends with the area's archbishop
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Gayle Benson, a devout Catholic, is close friends with the area's archbishop
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

The Saints said that they "only did 'minimal' public relations work on the area's Roman Catholic sexual abuse crisis," but attorneys suing the church "allege hundreds of confidential Saints emails show the team's involvement went much further, helping to shape a list of credibly accused clergy that appears to be undercounted," according to Jim Mustian of the AP. The attorneys wrote, "This goes beyond public relations. ... The Saints appear to have had a hand in determining which names should or should not have been included on the pedophile list." Attorneys alleged in earlier court papers that Saints execs "joined in the archdiocese's 'pattern and practice of concealing its crimes.'" One email from late '18 referred to Senior VP/Communications Greg Bensel "joining unnamed 'third parties' in a discussion about 'removing priests from the pedophile list.'" It was "not clear which other Saints officials may have been involved." The franchise, whose Owner Gayle Benson is Catholic and close friends with the local archbishop, has "disputed as 'outrageous' any suggestion that the team helped cover up crimes." The team has accused plaintiffs' attorneys of "mischaracterizing what is in the emails." The NFL has "not responded to repeated queries" about whether such PR work by the team was "appropriate or violated league conduct policies" (AP, 1/30).