Priest of Popular New Orleans Church Accused of Raping 10-Year-Old
WDSU in New Orleans has published a story claiming Rev. John Asare-Dankwah of St. Peter Claver Catholic Church in Treme has been accused of raping and beating a 10-year-old during a church retreat in Montgomery, Alabama in 2008.
The anonymous victim, now 22, filed the lawsuit in a New Orleans court Wednesday. The victim claims the assault occurred during the time Rev. Asare-Dankwah was pastor of Blessed Trinity Catholic Church in Broadmore. The victim and his family were members.
The lawsuit alleges that Rev. Asare-Dankwah asked the boy if he loved God, one day during confessional. During that same confessional, Rev. Asare-Dankwah also asked the child if he loved him. The assumption is that the child said yes. Because it was during that same confessional, the victim says Rev. Asare-Dankwah exposed himself.
The court papers claim during the retreat in Alabama, Rev. Asare-Dankwah retrieved the boy from his bed, took him to a location where the two were alone and raped and beat him. According to WDSU, the pastor gave the child advice before committing the assault.
This will be over soon.-Rev. Asare-Dankwah
The victim claims the pastor told him he was a homosexual and a sinner before the boy returned to his sleeping quarters in complete fear. According to the documents, the 10-year-old was so upset over what happened, he asked to sleep in a different bunk with another boy. He says they both slept facing away from each other.
Like many victims of assault, due to the feeling of embarrassment, the victim remained silent for many years. It wasn't until the victim saw Rev. Asare-Dankwah at his grandmother's funeral, that he decided to come forward with his story and press charges.
The court documents claim the victim had a mental breakdown after seeing the pastor at his grandmother's funeral.
The Archdiocese of New Orleans told WDSU:
Today the Archdiocese of New Orleans was informed of a lawsuit alleging abuse of a minor against Fr. John Asare-Dankwah. The archdiocese had no notice of this allegation or this lawsuit prior to today and has not been served with this lawsuit. The archdiocese does not know the identity of the individual bringing this lawsuit and allegations against Fr. Asare.
Effective immediately, Archbishop Aymond has removed Fr. Asare from priestly ministry pending the outcome of the investigation. Fr. Asare has most recently served as pastor of St. Peter Claver Parish in New Orleans. Fr. Asare was informed of the allegations late this evening. He is currently out of the country on vacation visiting family in Ghana.
The Archdiocese of New Orleans will ensure law enforcement is informed of this lawsuit and the allegations made.-Archdiocese of New Orleans
The victim's basis for the civil lawsuit, according to court documents, is that the Archdiocese of New Orleans was negligent in the placement of Rev. Asare-Dankwah. In his role as pastor, the lawsuit claims Rev. Asare-Dankwah was given a powerful position in the church that allowed him to lead, therefore having access to children.