Contact: Ken Daley, Public Information
District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office on Thursday (Dec. 12) secured an indictment charging a former New Orleans Roman Catholic church deacon with the rape of a preteen boy nearly 40 years ago.
George Brignac was charged with one count of aggravated rape in the indictment handed up by an Orleans Parish grand jury. Brignac faces a mandatory lifetime prison term if convicted of the charge.
“The time for this victim to have his day in court against a trusted church leader, whom we intend to prove sexually abused him decades ago, is long overdue,” Cannizzaro said. “While we believe there are other victims linked to this defendant, some alleged offenses have prescribed, meaning they cannot be prosecuted because too many years have passed. But at the time of this offense, there was no time limit in Louisiana to prosecute the rapist of a child under the age of 12.
“Now that victims have come forward in adulthood, with allegations deemed credible by police investigators, prosecutors and the grand jury, we will move forward aggressively to pursue justice on their behalf. This is the first such case in New Orleans to produce an indictment so many years after the offenses were inflicted upon helpless children. There may be more to come. And it is our hope that the archdiocese will continue to cooperate fully and completely with such investigations.”
Brignac, 84, was arrested Sept. 21 by New Orleans police investigating allegations that the former church official had sexually abused a young altar boy he began supervising in 1978, when the boy was 7. The victim, who came forward to police as an adult in August 2018, said he was sexually abused inside Brignac’s home, car and classroom at Our Lady of the Rosary Parish for the next several years through the age of 12. Brignac taught mathematics and was the co-director of the altar boy program at the church and affiliated school.
The Archdiocese of New Orleans removed Brignac from the ministry in 1988 after his third arrest on allegations of child molestation, though prosecutors eventually refused those charges. Brignac was found not guilty of similar charges after a bench trial in Jefferson Parish in 1978, involving boys he allegedly victimized at St. Matthew the Apostle parish.
However, Brignac still was reading Scripture as a lay minister during masses at St. Mary Magdalen Church in Metairie as recently as 2018, before the archdiocese again stripped him of the role.
Brignac was included on a list of more than 50 clergy members who had been removed from ministry because of credible allegations of sexual abuse of minors, a list provided with scant further detail by the Archdiocese of New Orleans in November 2018.
Assistant District Attorneys Bobby Freeman and Alicia Bennette presented the case to the grand jury.
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