Holding the Catholic Church Liable for Child Abuse in New Orleans Youth Homes and Orphanages

by Frank E. Lamothe, III

Hope Haven
Marrero, Louisiana

As the bankruptcy proceedings of the Archdiocese of New Orleans move forward, information continues to surface about allegations of child abuse – including sexual abuse – in youth homes run by the church. Dozens of individuals who spent time as children living at Madonna Manor, Hope Haven, and St. Elizabeth’s have claimed that they suffered physical and sexual abuse at the hands of clergy members, nuns, and other employees.

Hope Haven was opened in the early 1920s by a Dutch priest. Its mission was to provide room and board, vocational training, and “moral guidance” for boys released from orphanages at age 14. The Marrero facility grew in physical size and operational scope over the next few decades, taking in younger boys and teaching numerous trades. In 1932, Archdiocese built Madonna Manor across the street to accommodate more children, including girls and deaf students. St. Elizabeth’s, in Uptown, operated as a boarding school, orphanage, and vocational facility for girls from 1865 to 1989. Although different orders ran the homes, all of these facilities were owned and overseen by the Catholic Church.

In late 2018, the Archdiocese released a list of priests credibly accused of sexual abuse. Many had lived or worked at Hope Haven, Madonna Manor, and St. Elizabeth’s. Dozens of adult survivors have accused clergy members, nuns, and employees of sexual assault, physical violence, and other forms of abuse of the minor children who lived in these facilities.

Survivors Have a Short Window of Time to Seek Damages

Individuals who suffered abuse as children in one of these facilities or local churches may have claims against the Archdiocese of New Orleans. Because of the bankruptcy filing, however, there is a much shorter window of time to assert a claim for damages. Abuse survivors who do not file a timely proof of claim with the bankruptcy court may lose their right to ever receive compensation from the Archdiocese for the harm they suffered.

If you believe you may have a claim for child abuse that occurred in a youth facility owned or operated by the Catholic Church, please contact us immediately to preserve your right to a recovery. The attorneys at Lamothe Law Firm have represented many survivors in lawsuits against the Archdiocese of New Orleans and negotiated many significant recoveries.

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