Denver Newsroom, Oct 9, 2020 / 05:40 pm (CNA).- The Archdiocese of New Orleans defended on Friday its handling of a priest who sent text messages to at least one high school student, in violation of archdiocesan policy. An attorney representing the student said the priest’s texts were grooming behavior, and the archdiocesan response put students at risk.

“This man preyed on kids who were at risk, sons who were in need of strong, strong male figures in their lives, and that’s what he gave them,” attorney Bill Arata told CNA Oct. 9, in reference to Fr. Pat Wattingy, who was until July chaplain at John Paul II High School in Slidell, Louisiana.

Wattingy was removed from ministry Oct. 1, after he admitted that in 2013 he sexually abused a minor, the same year he was transferred from ministry at Archbishop Rummel High School outside New Orleans. That matter has reportedly been referred to law enforcement.

Praise the Lord

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