NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — Former New Orleans Priest Lawrence Hecker pleaded not guilty to kidnapping, theft, rape and crimes against nature during his arraignment on Wednesday, Sept. 13.
The claims against 91-year-old Hecker stem from a 1999 document with what is believed to be Hecker’s confession of sexually molesting and harming several teenagers between 1966 and 1972.
Hecker’s case joins a long list of clergy sexual abuse lawsuits across Louisiana.
One victim making a claim against Hecker was Gretna City Councilman Jackie Berthelot, who in her own words described Hecker as “one of the worst pedophiles this country has ever seen.”
According to the Archdiocese, there have been many reports to law enforcement in different jurisdictions about Hecker since 2002.
“We are ready for the fight to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in this case and send a far-reaching message that anyone conspiring to cover up hurting children will be found and found out and will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” said D.A. Jason Williams on Sept. 7.
Hecker surrendered to authorities in early Sept. and is now being held at Orleans Parish Prison on a bond totaling $855,000.