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Deceased priest added to abuse list, 2 more being investigated, according to Archdiocese of New Orleans

WDSU New Orleans logo WDSU New Orleans 12/2/2020
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The Archdiocese of New Orleans announced Wednesday that it concluded an investigation into allegations of abuse of minors against a deceased priest, who has since been added to the clergy abuse list. The organization also announced investigations into two retired priests.

According to a statement issued by the Archdiocese, the late Fr. Robert K. Cooper has been added to the Archdiocese of New Orleans Report Regarding Clergy Abuse found online at nolacatholic.org.

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The Archdiocese said the deceased Fr. Cooper should not be confused with the Fr. Cooper, who is an active pastor in the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

The complete assignment history for the deceased Robert Cooper is below:

Robert K Cooper:

Date of Birth: 1945

Date of Ordination: 1971

Estimated Timeframe of Abuse: late 1970s

Allegations Received: 2007

Date of Death: 1989

Pastoral Assignments:

Ascension of Our Lord, LaPlace

Our Lady of Prompt Succor, Chalmette

Sacred Heart of Jesus, Norco

St. Andrew the Apostle, New Orleans

St. Angela Merici, Metairie

St. Francis Cabrini, New Orleans

St. James Major, New Orleans

St. Philip Neri, Metairie

St. John Vianney Prep, New Orleans

Two retired priests placed on leave

The Archdiocese also announced it placed two retired priests on administrative leave pending the outcome of investigations lodged against them.

Those priests are Fr. Joseph M. deWater and Fr. J. Luis Fernandez.

Allegations against these priests, including the time frame and location of the allegations, were not included in the Archdiocese statement.

According to the Archdiocese, neither of the retired priests is living in the New Orleans area and neither has a formal pastoral assignment.

"Regardless, this announcement is made to protect the common good and guard the course of justice. These actions do not imply guilt or innocence," said the archdiocese statement.

Clarion-Herald archives show DeWater was a deacon at the Notre Dame seminary in the late 1960s. A 2018 Catholic directory, listing DeWater as retired, says he lives in The Netherlands.

Information about the allegations against the living priests has been reported to law enforcement, according to the archdiocese.

Anyone with any additional information about allegations of abuse should contact law enforcement. Victims of abuse are encouraged to contact the archdiocesan Victims Assistance Coordinator at 504-861-6253.

READ THE FULL STORY:Deceased priest added to abuse list, 2 more being investigated, according to Archdiocese of New Orleans

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