Breaking News
More () »

Former Slidell priest arrested in second molestation case

Patrick Wattigny pleaded not guilty to the first case in 2021 and was out on bond awaiting trial.

NEW ORLEANS — A former Slidell priest who already faces child molestation charges was arrested Tuesday in a separate case.

Patrick Wattigny, who was arrested in 2020 and was out on bond awaiting trial on a count of molesting a 15-year-old boy starting in 2013, was booked by the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office for allegedly molesting another boy. The timeframe of that alleged molestation was not immediately disclosed.

Wattigny's attorney, Robert Stern, told WWL-TV that Wattigny turned himself in when he learned of the new warrant for his arrest and has no other comment at this time.

Bill Arata, an attorney who represents the latest alleged victim, said he couldn’t disclose any additional details, but praised the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office for their investigation.

“A client of mine has been working closely with the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office about his childhood being taken by this priest,” Arata said. “Hats off to the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office. They conducted a really thorough investigation.”

The sheriff's office said the second victim contacted police in August and alleged Wattigny abused him while he was an elementary student at a Covington-area Catholic school. Sheriff's Office spokesperson Suzanne Carboni said she did not have dates of the alleged conduct.

Wattigny served at a Covington church, St. Peter Catholic Church, in the mid-1990s. From 2000 to 2013, when he returned to the northshore, Wattigny was pastor at St. Benilde Parish in Metairie and was chaplain at Archbishop Rummel High School, also in Metairie.

Wattigny pleaded not guilty to the first case in 2021 and was out on bond awaiting trial. He was pastor at St. Luke the Evangelist Catholic Church in Slidell and chaplain at Pope John Paul II High School in 2020 when he was ordered to resign by the Archdiocese because of inappropriate text messages to a student.

He disclosed molesting a boy in 2013 to the Archdiocese in October 2020, and Archbishop Gregory Aymond announced he had removed Wattigny from ministry. Shortly after that, he was arrested at a home he owns in Georgia and was brought to jail in St. Tammany Parish.

His first case had been set several times for trial and delayed. Stern subpoenaed several records about Wattigny from the Archdiocese earlier this year.

He was booked at St. Tammany Parish Correctional Center on Tuesday afternoon and remained in custody Wednesday morning.

“He’s back off the streets,” Arata said. “Let’s see if we can keep him off the streets this time.”

Click here to report a typo.

► Get breaking news from your neighborhood delivered directly to you by downloading the new FREE WWL-TV News app now in the IOS App Store or Google Play.

Before You Leave, Check This Out