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Hope Haven was house of horrors for troubled youth

The Spanish-Colonial Style architecture is captivating to the eye from the outside. What occurred inside of the walls, however, haunts those who once called it home.

NEW ORLEANS -- They were only little boys looking for a place of refuge. Instead of finding comfort and support, they got the opposite of what they needed.

"We're looking as young as 6 and up to 12, 13," Attorney Frank Lamothe with Lamothe Law Firm said.

In Marrero on Barataria Boulevard sits Hope Haven. The Spanish-Colonial Style architecture is captivating to the eye from the outside. What occurred inside of the walls, however, haunts those who once called it home. It's where some of the most brutal cases of child sex abuse occurred, according to Lamothe.

"Anal Rape," Lamothe said. "There was one child that I recall anally raped multiple times. They were orally raped. They were fondled."

Lamothe says it didn't stop there.

"They were also dealt with by the sisters who were there in a sadistic way. There was a lot of sadism. They were beaten. I had one nun testify when I took her deposition that she could hear the screams when they were being beaten."

In the list released Friday by Archbishop Gregory Aymond, 8 of the 57 Clergy Members credibly accused of abusing children had ties to Hope Haven. All of the men listed were assigned to the boys home.

The allegations date back to the 1940s.

When Lamothe first started looking into the case, 18 boys spoke up. By the end, 47 others came forward.

In 2009, the Archdiocese reached a $5.182 million settlement. Lamothe believes the Archbishop's decision to release their names shows progress, but it's not enough.

"If they want to do some more, they could waive any statue of limitations involving these types of claims and allow people to come forward and present their claims to the church without the church claiming it's too late," Lamothe said.

He says money can never truly compensate victims of what happened at Hope Haven. He hopes the church's actions Friday, will make sure it never happens again.

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