The Lawsuit Alleges Sexual Abuse by a Salesian Priest and a Notre Dame Sister Working at Hope Haven
The Suit was Filed Under a New Louisiana Law that Temporarily Suspends the Time Limits for Sexual Abuse Survivors to File Suit
Attorneys Jessica Arbour (Horowitz Law, Ft. Lauderdale) and Jacques Bezou, Jr. (The Bezou Law Firm, Covington) announce the filing of a new child sexual abuse and coverup lawsuit in Louisiana. The suit was recently filed on behalf of a man sexually abused as a child at Hope Haven, a church-run home for orphans and troubled children near New Orleans, Louisiana.
According to the lawsuit papers, the plaintiff was repeatedly sexually abused by Fr. Sean Leo Rooney, a Salesian priest, and Sr. Alvin Marie Hagan, during a court-ordered stay at Hope Haven in approximately 1976. He was 14 years old.
The history of sexual abuse at Hope Haven is well documented by the media. In 2008, 59 men filed suit against the facility (and its sister facility, Madonna Manor) for sexual abuse. Those cases were eventually settled, as were others filed in the years that followed. Some of those cases involved allegations of abuse by Hagan.
Rooney’s name appears on the Salesians’ list of priests credibly accused of sexual abuse. He has also been named in lawsuits filed in New York and New Jersey.
This is believed to be the first lawsuit filed against the Salesians and School Sisters of Notre Dame under a new Louisiana law that temporarily lifted the statute of limitations in childhood sexual abuse cases. In June 2021, Louisiana lawmakers joined states across the country by opening a three-year window for survivors of child sexual abuse to file lawsuits against those responsible for their abuse. The window remains open until 2024.
Horowitz Law attorney Jessica Arbour, said, “Our client has waited a very long time for the opportunity for justice and accountability for those responsible for him when he was a vulnerable child in their care. Thanks to the dedication and action of Louisiana’s lawmakers, he finally has a chance to seek justice in a court of law. This is an important step in his healing journey.”
For more information, click here to watch the WGNO (ABC) story on the lawsuit filing.
The case is now pending in the 19th Judicial District of Louisiana.
Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in Louisiana. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Louisiana, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in Louisiana now have legal options but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in Louisiana and nationwide. We can help.