Former Louisiana priest arrested again for allegedly molesting another juvenile

A former Louisiana priest who was arrested two years ago for allegedly molesting a 15-year-boy was arrested again Tuesday after a second victim came forward with new allegations, authorities said.

Patrick Wattigny is the former pastor of St. Luke the Evangelist Catholic Church in Slidell, about 30 miles northeast of New Orleans. He was initially arrested in October 2020 for allegedly abusing a 15-year-old in 2013 shortly after he was assigned as pastor of the church.

Wattigny pleaded not guilty to one count of molestation. He has been out on bond and is expected to go to trial in January.

But according to the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office, another alleged victim contacted authorities earlier this year.

“In August 2022, a second victim contacted the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office and disclosed sexual abuse at the hands of Wattigny,” officials said in a news release.

The second victim, who’s now an adult, said that he suffered the abuse while he was an elementary level student at a Catholic school in Covington, some 30 miles northwest of Slidell.

After an investigation into the claims, a warrant for Wattigny’s arrest was issued and he was booked Tuesday into the St. Tammany Parish Correctional Center for one count of molestation of a juvenile.

When he was arrested in 2020, authorities said that the victim was molested on at least four different occasions, with some of those incidents taking place in the church rectory.

“It is deeply disturbing when an individual in a position of authority uses that position to prey on the most defenseless of our population — our children,” Sheriff Randy Smith said in a statement.