Former New Orleans Area Catholic Priest Arrested on Sexual Battery and Video Voyeurism Charges
According to reports, a former New Orleans area Catholic priest was arrested and charged with five counts of video voyeurism and one count of sexual battery. The former priest, who was more recently the director of a non-profit for people with disabilities, is being held at the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center without bail.
The report from NOLA.com says that 59-year-old Stephen Sauer is currently being held without bail after he was arrested and charged on five counts of video voyeurism and one count of sexual battery. A spokesman for the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office confirmed the arrest and when speaking about the on-going investigation said, "We do believe there may be more victims" per the report.
It is currently unclear if Sauer's most recent position as the executive director of the Arc of Greater New Orleans out of Metairie has ties to the charges brought upon him according to the report. The report adds that Sauer has been in his position since the beginning of 2017, but a statement from the Arc of Greater New Orleans says that Sauer is no longer employed there.
"The stability of ArcGNO and safety of its clients are the organization's top priorities", they said in a statement per the report. The statement goes on to say that the non-profit is cooperating fully with authorities as they investigate the charges brought upon Sauer.
According to the report, Sauer listed himself as the pastor of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church from 2008 to 2012. A spokesperson for the Jesuit's Society of Jesus said the priest left the order in 2020 "at his own request" per the report.
The report says that video voyeurism carries a punishment of up to two years in prison with the sexual battery charge carrying a maximum sentence of ten years in prison.
What is video voyeurism?
NewOrleansCriminalDefense.com says that video voyeurism generally happens when someone uses a camera to capture images or videos of a person in a private situation. This can be a dressing or undressing scenario or even things such as using the bathroom or engaging in sexual activity per the website.
The website adds that other charges for video voyeurism have come along from people who were photographing females by positioning the camera to see up their skirt.
While preliminary details of the arrest do not specify the context of the charges placed on Sauer, his position as director of a non-profit for disabled people as well as his former time as a Catholic priest brings about some concerns. As the investigation by authorities is on-going, there is very little room to speculate with such a serious matter.
See the full report from @NOLAnews on Twitter below.
You can see Sauer speaking on behalf of Arc of Greater New Orleans during Mardi Gras in 2019 via the below YouTube video.