A Catholic priest who led one of New Orleans’ best-known inner-city churches until being accused of sexually molesting a child has been reported to federal authorities for possible financial crimes after an audit found he spent nearly $400,000 of his congregants’ money in questionable ways.
John Asare-Dankwah ran the St Peter Claver church in New Orleans’ historic Treme neighborhood from 2014 until early 2021, when a lawsuit alleging that he raped a boy on an out-of-state overnight trip years earlier prompted church officials to indefinitely suspend him from his role.
Asare-Dankwah, 62, has denied the rape accusation. But his financial stewardship at St Peter Claver – whose parishioners grapple with high levels of poverty and gun violence – also fell under scrutiny after the city’s archdiocese in 2020 became the oldest in the US to file for bankruptcy, largely because of lawsuits pertaining to the Catholic church’s ongoing worldwide clerical molestation scandal.
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