Former SNAP Leader’s Collaboration With Archbishop Incites Panic for Sexual Abuse Victims

Source: “File:DSB FQF13 Fri Jackson Sq WWL Opening ceremony Archbishop.jpg” by Derek Bridges is licensed under CC BY 2.0

In June 2020, Kevin Bourgeois was shown on the cover of Sports Illustrated holding a sign that said, “Aymond must go!” The sign referenced New Orleans Archbishop Aymond, whom Bourgeois condemned for turning a blind eye to sexual abuse allegations against clergy members, including his own.  

Bourgeois was molested in the 1980s by a priest named Carl Davidson, a man that Aymond worked with early in his career at St. John Prep and lived near at Notre Dame Seminary. 

Aymond denied knowing about Davidson sexually abusing boys at the time, a claim that was proven untrue when another victim of Davidson’s stepped forward and reported that he had told Aymond in 1989 that Davidson was abusing him. Responding to this, Aymond said he reported the claims to the archbishop at the time but couldn’t, or rather didn’t, do anything else. 

This and Aymond’s other inactivity in regard to providing justice for sexual abuse victims turned Bourgeois into one of Aymond’s harshest critics. In Bourgeois’s role as the leader of the New Orleans chapter of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) he frequently called for Aymond’s ousting. 

However, 7 months after appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated demanding, “Aymond must go!” Bourgeois announced that he would be collaborating with Archbishop Aymond, and that “There’s nothing sinister or salacious about that, and there isn’t anything that should be questioned. He should be applauded. This is him.”

What happened? 

Members of SNAP are unsure. They were left more than shocked by the news that Bourgeois would be collaborating with the church that had enabled and then hidden their sexual assaults as children. 

Mark Vath, a survivor who ended up leaving SNAP, explained that “When I heard the news I started shaking uncontrollably and I had to go get another teacher to come watch my class. That’s how bad of a betrayal that it was.” 

He quickly wrote to the president of SNAP that, “It is NOT one of my goals to break bread with felons while having frank, high-level conversations… The collective pain endured this week by those of us in New Orleans is reminiscent of those hot summer days of August 2018 when I first encountered vivid flashbacks of the crimes committed against me by a Catholic priest. Then, I began to remember the lies, intimidation, and sociopathic tactics directed towards me and my family coming directly from the man in the photo (Greg Aymond). And my friend was next to him, smiling for some obscure reason, and shaking hands with Lucifer himself.”

Richard Windmann, who founded SNAP New Orleans, and also ended up leaving the organization, said that after the announcement, “I was up for 36 hours straight fielding calls from victims and survivors in crisis. Three of them had suicidal thoughts. So, you know, this isn’t a game. This is people’s lives at stake. This was not without ripples and repercussions.” 

He and Vath went on to iterate that for survivors trust is a hard thing to give. And all of them had trusted Bourgeois. Mark explained, “I have bared my soul to Kevin Bourgeois. And now he’s on the inside? It reeks.”

Trust and secrecy are really why Bourgeois’ collaboration has been so harmful to clergy sexual abuse survivors and victims. Windmann explained, “Naturally, victims and survivors are kind of frightened right now that Kevin will talk to the archbishop about you know, our privacy, we feel that our privacy was violated. It could change the entire lawsuit. The strategy of the lawsuit.” 

Sexual abuse lawsuits were recently put on hold by the Archdiocese of New Orleans, which filed for bankruptcy at the beginning of the pandemic as a litigation tactic. 

In 2018, after years of sexual abuse survivors demanding more transparency, the archdiocese finally identified more than 57 clergy members who had been credibly accused of sexual assault. Since then, there has been a growing number of lawsuits. 

More than 34 clergy sex abuse lawsuits have been paused and will require plaintiffs to seek compensation through bankruptcy court, which is likely to result in less compensation and less favorable verdicts. 

Not to mention, the bankruptcy filing will also protect archdiocesan officials from testifying under oath and prevent the release of internal church documents, which will hinder court proceedings. 

In an effort to limit the new sexual abuse lawsuits, the archdiocese filed a motion for a September deadline for new claims, however, the US bankruptcy court ended up setting the bar date for March 2021, which sexual abuse survivors view as far too soon. 

Richard explained, “This is the cover-up of the cover-up because they initially covered up the abuse and now they are fighting us in the court system, they are not allowing us to access documents.”

Because of this recent action that will deny justice for sexual abuse survivors, Archbishop Aymond’s plan to restructure how his church handles sexual abuse claims was viewed as a false gesture. 

The plan involved paying Kevin Bourgeois to train counselors at the Catholic Counseling Service to better handle cases with sexual abuse survivors. Bourgeois explained that he felt motivated to take the position because “This archbishop has four years remaining in his term, and I’ve shared with him that he has got a lot of work to do in the next four years. And I’d rather work with him from the outside, supporting him providing relief and benefits to survivors rather than holding up signs that that that are calling for his ouster.”

However, the arrangement was seen as a conflict of interest which is why Bourgeois was recently removed from his SNAP leadership role.

Vath explained, “Kevin was the leader of SNAP for over a year in New Orleans. He has so much confidential information, some of it could be vital to upcoming civil and criminal lawsuits. We have bared our souls to Kevin. And now he’s on the inside? You can only imagine our concern.”

Bourgeois commented, “I take my code of ethics as a social worker seriously. People who know me and respect me reached out to me and offered their support. They also expressed their disbelief that I would be accused of doing anything untoward.”

Bourgeois said that it was only a “vocal minority” that called for his ousting, which Windmann refuted. “A lot of survivors left SNAP. And we are not the vocal minority we are the vocal majority…Despite what Bourgeois says, there are probably only 2 or 3 SNAP members that remain. We have a Facebook group where most of us are, kind of living in exile, supporting each other and pulling together.”

Supporting Windmann, John Anderson, a clergy sex abuse survivor, commented, “We can’t have somebody going in, having these joint meetings and statements together with the same people that destroyed our lives to begin with.” 

When asked if they thought that something good could possibly come out of Bourgeois’ collaboration with Aymond, Windmann and Vath soundly answer “No.” They have found Aymond to be completely unhelpful in their search for justice over the years. 

In the fallout of the disintegration of New Orleans SNAP chapter, Windmann, Anderson, and Vath started their own support group. You can reach out to their new group, Survivors of Childhood Sex Abuse (SCSA) by contacting them using their emails: and There are over 30 men in the group from all over the world. 


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