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Former head of group that aids mentally disabled arrested on video voyeurism, sex battery counts

Stephen Sauer, 59 of Metairie, had been erased from the website of ArcGNO by Tuesday evening.

GRETNA, La. — The executive director of Arc of Greater New Orleans was arrested Monday and booked with five counts of video voyeurism and one count of sexual battery, court records show. 

Stephen Sauer, who became director of the non-profit in 2017, remains behind bars in the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center, held without bail pending a hearing scheduled for Thursday.

Sauer, 59 of Metairie, had been erased from the website of ArcGNO by Tuesday evening. 

ArcGNO issued a statement late Tuesday night that said, "Mr. Sauer is no longer employed by Arc of Greater New Orleans (ArcGNO) , and Chief Administrative Officer Sandee Williamson has been appointed to serve as Acting Executive Director. Ms. Williamson and the ArcGNO team will focus on ensuring the organization’s work continues with minimal disruption. The stability of ArcGNO and safety of its clients are the organization’s top priorities. We have pledged our full cooperation to the authorities in this matter."

ArcGNO, with headquarters in Metairie, provides services to the mentally disabled of all ages, but is especially well-known for hiring disabled adults to sort and sell used and donated Mardi Gras beads.

The facts supporting Sauer’s arrest are not yet known, particularly whether the allegations are linked to his work. Video voyeurism is punishable by a prison sentence of up to two years, while sexual battery carries a maximum of 10 years.

Capt. Jason Rivarde, spokesman for the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, confirmed that Sauer was arrested at about 5 p.m. Monday. Rivarde said he couldn’t elaborate about the arrest, saying detectives are in the early stages of the probe.

“It’s going to be a very extensive investigation, a minimum of several weeks,” Rivarde said. “We do believe there may be more victims.”

Rivarde said anyone with additional information can call JPSO’s Personal Violence Section at (504) 364-5300.

Sauer’s Linked-In profile states that he has been at the helm of the non-profit since January 2017. Records also show he served as a Catholic priest, listing himself as the pastor of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church from 2008-2012. A spokesperson for the Jesuit’s Society of Jesus said Sauer left the order “at his own request in 2020.”

Sauer also posted that he has served on a number of local boards, including as a former trustee at Loyola University New Orleans and Spring Hill College in Mobile, Ala. He also lists himself as co-founder and former board chairman of Hotel Hope, a New Orleans non-profit that provides shelter for homeless families.

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