91-Year-Old Retired Priest Charged With Sexually Assaulting Teen Boy

(Photo by LUIS ROBAYO/AFP via Getty Images)

Dana Abizaid Contributor
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A Louisiana grand jury indicted a 91-year-old priest for allegedly sexually assaulting a teenage boy in 1975, The Associated Press (AP) reported Thursday.

Lawrence Hecker faces felony counts of rape, kidnapping, aggravated crime against nature and theft, The AP reported. He is also accused of performing a wrestling move on the teen that left him unconscious before he sexually assaulted him, according to The AP.

Hecker’s case highlights the possibility of an alleged cover up of clergy sex abuse which centers around why Church officials failed to report the priest’s admission of wrongdoing as far back as 2002, The AP reported. Hecker was not identified as a suspected predator until 2018 when the Archdiocese of New Orleans released its list of “credibly accused” priests. (RELATED: Former Catholic Priest Bags 25 Years In Jail For Drugging, Molesting 17 Men)

“He should have been prosecuted a long time ago,” Jason Williams, the Orleans Parish district attorney, told reporters Thursday. “We’ve had to fight very vigorously in the courts and behind the scenes.”

“Lawrence Hecker got away with grotesque sexual felonies against children for many decades under the protection of the Archdiocese of New Orleans,” attorneys for the teen allegedly abused in 1975 said in a joint statement. “Our client and several other Hecker victims whom we represent believe that he should spend the rest of his life in prison where he should have been for at least the last 60 years.”

The attorneys added that the indictment was a “victory for all victim-survivors of clergy sexual abuse.”

Besides the accusation stemming from 1975, new claims have surfaced against Hecke, The AP reported. According to one alleged victim, Hecker allegedly forced him and other boys to strip naked in the changing room of St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church so he could “inspect” them, The AP reported. “He then proceeded to fondle my genitals as well as the other boys in the line,” the man, now 48, claimed, according to The AP.

“It was all swept under the rug,” another survivor of Hecker’s abuse wrote in a letter to a federal judge. “In my opinion, the Archdiocese of New Orleans is morally bankrupt, not financially bankrupt.”