Sources confirm the Diocese of Lafayette has reported abuse allegations against Monsignor Robie Robichaux to the New Iberia Police Department. The report comes 14 weeks after the diocese placed Robichaux on leave and 25 years after the allegation was first reported.
Robichaux was placed on leave in October after a woman came forward alleging she was sexually abused by Robichaux in the 1970’s starting when she was 16 years old. Since then another woman has come forward making similar allegations.
The initial accuser first reported the alleged abuse to the diocese in 1994 and 2004, yet Robichaux was allowed to remain in ministry, work in schools, and was even promoted within the diocese to the post of judicial vicar.
In 2004, when then-Bishop Michael Jarrell learned of the accusations, instead of suspending Robichaux and reporting the allegation to police, he sided with canon law that would have considered the initial accuser an adult at 16 years old. Civil law would have considered her to be a minor.
KATC spoke with Robichaux’s initial accuser in October. She said:
“In 1994 and in 2004, both Bishop Flynn and Bishop Jarrell were presented with the same information, my concern is with why more was not done at the time. It appears that there should have been enough information to take action both in 1994 and in 2004.”
Questions submitted via e-mail from KATC about whether Jarrell’s actions were appropriate have gone unanswered in the 14 weeks since the diocese held a news conference and refused to answer questions.
The New Iberia Police Department confirms they have launched an investigation.
The Lafayette Diocese has responded to this case with the following statement:
At the request of the victim in the case, the Diocese of Lafayette recently turned over information on abuse allegations against Msgr. Robie Robichaux to New Iberia City Police. In September of 2018, when Bishop Deshotel first became aware of the allegations, he placed Msgr. Robichaux on administrative leave and removed him from active ministry. The abuse reportedly occurred between 1979 and 1981. The decision was made to forward all information on the case to law enforcement authorities because it was unclear as to whether that action had been taken at the time the allegations were first reported to the Diocese in 1994. Bishop Deshotel continues to urge anyone who has information concerning allegations of abuse to contact law enforcement authorities immediately.