Saints owner denies team had role in clergy sex abuse list

In this Nov. 24, 2019, file photo, New Orleans Saints owner Gayle Benson, watches the team warm up, before an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in New Orleans. The Saints contend their behind-the-scenes public relations work on the area’s Roman Catholic sexual abuse crisis was “minimal,” but attorneys suing the church allege hundreds of confidential Saints emails show just the opposite, the team actively helping to shape a list of credibly accused clergy that appears to be an undercount. Benson, who is close friends with the local archbishop, have disputed as “outrageous” any suggestion that the team helped cover up crimes. (AP Photo/Butch Dill, File)
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(AP) - The owner of the New Orleans Saints says the NFL team played no role in determining which priests would be named in the list of “credibly accused” clergy published by the area’s Roman Catholic Church.

Gayle Benson issued a statement that also said she has never made payments to help the church pay legal settlements to victims of clergy abuse.

The statement marked Benson’s first remarks since The Associated Press reported last month about hundreds of confidential Saints emails that allegedly show team executives did behind-the-scenes public relations damage control amid the archdiocese’s clergy abuse crisis.

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