NATIONAL NEWS

Ex-priest sentenced to 25 years for drugging and molesting men he met in New Orleans tourist area

Jul 9, 2023, 12:40 PM

METAIRIE, La. (AP) — A former Catholic priest in Louisiana has been sentenced to 25 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to drugging and molesting 17 men he met in a popular tourist area in New Orleans, a prosecutor said.

WVUE-TV reported that Stephen Sauer, 61, targeted people in the city’s French Quarter who appeared drunk, lost or in need of help, according to Jefferson Parish District Attorney Paul D. Connick Jr.

The crimes occurred from 2019 to 2021, and many of the victims were visiting from out of state, Connick said.

The investigation began in 2021 after Sauer sent a computer to an electronics repair company in New York. A technician found hundreds of images suggesting sexual assaults had occurred. New York law enforcement officials determined the images were taken in Metairie and notified the Jefferson Parish sheriff.

The prosecutor said Sauer put narcotics in men’s drinks at bars or gave them sleep-inducing drugs after they passed out from drinking. He then drove the victims to his home in the New Orleans suburb of Metairie, where he photographed or videotaped the unconscious men and molested some of them.

The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office found during its investigation that Sauer shared the images with others through a website or by email.

Sauer was sentenced Friday after he pleaded guilty to 13 counts of sexual battery, nine counts of third-degree rape, 17 counts of video voyeurism and 16 misdemeanor charges of possessing drugs without prescriptions and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Judge Shayna Beevers Morvant gave Sauer the 25-year sentence, ordered him to register as a sex offender and banned him from contacting 12 of the victims.

Detectives identified many victims because Sauer took photographs of their driver’s licenses or other forms of identification, Connick said.

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