Church abuse survivors demand audit after NOLA Archdiocese

Triggered by word diocese received PPP money.

Thomas Perumean
July 13, 2020 - 6:17 am
Archbishop Gregory Aymond

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) abuse are demanding an audit be performed on the Archdiocese of New Orleans. 

The call for an audit has been triggered by reports the Church received money from the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program. 

“The Catholic Church is not a small business.  It’s an enormous conglomeration,” says Kevin Bourgeois, licensed social worker and member of SNAP.  “I don’t think it’s fair that they received these funds through a loophole.  I think that we deserve to know since it was our taxpayer funds that were funneled to the church.  I’m calling for an audit and an accounting of where every nickel of that money went.”  

According to the Small Business Association, tax exempt agencies are ineligible to received money, but an exemption was made by Congress following the COVID-19 outbreak.  

The Department of Treasury reported on the businesses that received money from the program and the Catholic Church was listed as a recipient to the tune of $1.4-billion.    

Bourgeois says every ordinary Catholic would be outraged the diocese, which is tax exempt, received one and half billion dollars of taxpayer money, of which the Archdiocese of New Orleans got between $2-and-5 million. 

The Archdiocese says they spent the money paying teachers, staff and employees.

“They’re not transparent with where their funds are.  But some the things that have been made public—let’s say there was a payout and the payee is unknown.  Did that go to pay a claimant?  Their practice is not to be transparent and honest.”  

Bourgeois is calling for an audit of the diocese to ensure the money is not going to settlements of clergy abuse, or continue pension, housing, and healthcare payments to problem priests. 

“[If the Archdiocese was an employer] and you have an employee who is suspected of sex-crimes, and you fire him, but you keep paying him, that makes no sense to me!”

“They want to keep the faithful out of the loop of these scandals which are never ending. 

1,400 religious organizations in Louisiana were granted PPP loans under 150-thousand dollars.  

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