Louisiana

Houma-Thibodaux names 14 priests accused of sexual misconduct involving children, including rape

UPDATE: Diocese of Lafayette Bishop Douglas Deshotel has made the following statement concerning named accused priests in the Houma-Thibodaux area:

Our Diocese, along with others across the state, is currently engaged in extensive and complex research to compile an accurate list of priests credibly accused of abuse of a minor or vulnerable adult and removed from ministry.

We intend to release that list as soon as the process of examining 50 years of clergy files very closely and carefully is completed.” 

(New Orleans Advocate)- Catholic Church officials in the Houma and Thibodaux areas on Friday named six priests who admitted or were convicted of sexual misconduct with children as well as three others who faced civil litigation credibly accusing them of molesting minors.

Another five were accused of "serious and unacceptable conduct with minors, ranging from inappropriate physical contact ... to molestation of a minor" outside of a court setting, bringing the total number of names on Friday's list to 14, officials said. 

The Bishop of Houma-Thibodaux, Shelton Fabre, has sent parishioners a letter offering an apology "for the egregious sins that have taken place."

"Let me be clear: the abuse of a child by anyone is sinful, abhorrent and evil, particularly when perpetrated by one vested with the sacred trust of God’s children," Fabre's letter read. "Furthermore, any attempt to cover up these sins is even more disturbing. I apologize to all who have been harmed. It is with deep respect and profound reverence that I humbly extend this apology."

Priests Alexander Francisco and Carlos Melendez admitted to inappropriate physical contact with a minor, and Robert Melancon was convicted of raping a child, the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux said.

Dale Guidry and Lawrence Cavell solicited children for sex, while Guidry was also accused of molesting a minor. Patrick Kujawa was convicted of child pornography possession.

Three priests who were sued over sexual abuse allegations that the church deemed credible are Etienne LeBlanc, Gerald Prinz and Bernard Schmaltz.

The rest were Claude Boudreaux, Gerard Kinane, Ramon Luce, Dac Nguyen and Daniel Poche. 

Prinz, Boudreaux, Kinane and Schmaltz were included in a list of clergy members faced with credible allegations of sexual abuse that the Catholic Church in New Orleans released in the fall.

Read The New Orleans Advocate's full story


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