A national network of survivors of sexual abuse has renewed their call on the Diocese of Lafayette to release the list of abusive priests.
In 2014, SNAP asked Bishop Michael Jarrell to release the list of 15 priests known by the Diocese to have abused children between 1950 and 1984. At that time, Jarrell refused, saying that doing so would serve no purpose.
Yesterday, current Bishop Douglas Deshotel held a press conference to answer questions about a current investigation. In that case, a St. Landry Parish priest is accused of abusing a child. Police and the diocese are investigating the allegations, and the priest is on leave while that happens. During that press conference, Deshotel said he wasn’t aware of the list and would have to research it.
Today, SNAP again is asking that the list be released. During the press conference, the bishop said he is sure that no priest who has had "credible accusations" against him is practicing in the diocese – and pledged that no priest with such a record ever would be. SNAP says that’s not good enough.
"With all due respect, whether or not a known abuser is still an active priest is hardly the only public safety concern. While these men may no longer be priests, they may still be working in fields that give them access to the vulnerable. The Church should be concerned about the safety of all children, not just Catholic youth. Knowing the names and whereabouts of these men will allow all parents to better protect their children," a release from SNAP states.
"Releasing the names also provides a measure of comfort to the abused. Many victims suffer alone and in silence, believing that they were the only ones, too ashamed to tell anyone. Knowing that their perpetrator victimized others as well can be an important step in the healing process."
SNAP requested that Deshotel release the names.
The organization also echoed one thing the bishop said yesterday: they asked that anyone with information about abuse to report it
"Whether or not Bishop Deshotel releases these names, we beg anyone who was abused in the Diocese of Lafayette or elsewhere to report the abuse to law enforcement to protect others, and to reach out to groups like ours for support and healing," the SNAP statement reads.
We’ve reached out to the diocese for a response to the SNAP statement.