10:19 AM PT -- The Saints just released a statement ... detailing Bensel's tips on how to work with the media.
"The advice was simple and never wavering. Be direct, open and fully transparent, while making sure that all law enforcement agencies were alerted," the team says.
"The New Orleans Saints, Greg Bensel and Mrs. Gayle Benson were and remain offended, disappointed and repulsed by the actions of certain past clergy. We remain steadfast in support of the victims who have suffered and pray for their continued healing."
The New Orleans Saints are adamantly DENYING helping top Catholic church officials in N.O. cover up sex abuse crimes, despite allegations to the contrary ... this according to court docs.
Here's the deal ... more than 20 men are suing the Archdiocese of New Orleans for employing George F. Brignac, a schoolteacher and deacon who allegedly sexually abused several boys.
Despite allegedly knowing about the abuse, the church continued to employ him as a lay minister until 2018.
Several alleged victims are suing the church for keeping him around while knowing he was a danger to kids.
Now, attorneys for the accusers are going after the Saints -- claiming team executives used their official Saints email accounts to help advise the church on how to deal with the crisis.
In fact, the attorneys claim there are HUNDREDS of emails showing an attempted P.R. effort from the Saints and they want a judge to release them to the public, according to the AP, which broke the story.
The attorneys are pointing the finger at the top Saints people -- including owner Gayle Benson and Senior V.P. of Communications Greg Bensel ... suggesting they aided the Archdiocese of New Orleans in its "pattern and practice of concealing its crimes."
What is known is that Saints owner Gayle Benson is a major backer of her local Catholic archdiocese and she’s given millions to the church ... and, she’s buds with Archbishop Gregory Aymond. Gayle inherited the team when Tom Benson died in 2018.
"Obviously, the Saints should not be in the business of assisting the Archdiocese, and the Saints’ public relations team is not in the business of managing the public relations of criminals engaged in pedophilia," the attorneys for the plaintiffs wrote in the court filing. "The Saints realize that if the documents at issue are made public, this professional sports organization also will be smearing itself."
According to the AP, the Saints have strongly denied the allegations in court filings.
The Saints had no immediate comment when we reached out Friday.