The Diocese of Lafayette says that they will release their list of accused clergy on Friday, April 12, 2019
The Diocese released a letter that is being sent to parishoners. You can read it by scrolling down. In it, Bishop Douglas Deshotel says he will release a list of 33 priests and four deacons who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse.
The Diocese also released a statement from Bishop Douglas Deshotel on the action:
Hello, I am Bishop Doug Deshotel, Bishop of the Diocese of Lafayette.
Sexual abuse is a scourge that has occurred in all segments of society. It occurs in families, schools, organizations and most sadly in the Church. It is most heinous when men consecrated for God’s work have betrayed a sacred trust to protect and serve innocent children. These actions are reprehensible sins and crimes. The Church’s response, especially in earlier days, was inadequate and wrong. Rather than listening to survivors of abuse, helping them to heal and removing offenders, efforts were directed to protecting the institution. That has changed.
While the credible allegations regarding many clergy have been made public, I have been asked since I became Bishop in 2016 to disclose the names of all credibly accused clergy. After consultation with laity, clergy and the community at large, I decided, like a growing number of Bishops and Superiors of Religious Orders to release the names of credibly accused diocesan priests and deacons in so far as that information could be discerned from documents and personnel files.
I realized the task would not be an easy one. I wanted a review of the entire one hundred year history of the Diocese of Lafayette. With the norms of the Dallas Charter of 2002, any cleric or lay employee against whom a credible accusation of abuse of a minor (under the age of 18) or vulnerable adult (lacking the permanent or temporary use of reason) would be permanently removed from ministry or service. To accomplish this task, I empaneled a trustworthy group of lay leaders. They were to identify any credible accusation made against a priest or deacon in the one hundred year history of the Diocese of Lafayette. Their findings would in turn be reviewed by another consultative body known as the Diocesan Review Board who represent law enforcement, psychology and education. They were to make a recommendation to me regarding the credibility of each accusation. A credible accusation is not to be considered a legal determination that the allegation has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt or by a preponderance of evidence. My promise from the outset was that if previously unknown or unclear allegations were now identified as credible, I would not fail to remove the offending cleric from ministry. I have done so since becoming Bishop three years ago.
On Friday, April 12, 2019, I will release a list of credibly accused priests and deacons. I am most thankful to the lay volunteers who generously gave of their time and efforts in this important task. Arriving at the disclosure list required a review of some 300,000 pages of material, including the files of 802 clerics, 623 priests and 179 deacons, from the founding of the Diocese in 1918 to the present. It required over 700 hours of labor. Our entire Diocese is grateful to those volunteers who responded in committed discipleship to this important task. The names of some clergy on the list may be painful for some family members and friends. I am deeply sorry but the path to healing and renewal requires that light be shone on this painful subject. All reporting is taken seriously and handled with respect. All accusations will be investigated to determine if they are credible, be reported to
authorities and offenders listed.
Most importantly, I sincerely apologize and am sorry for anyone who is a survivor of abuse. I praise your courage in coming forward so that an offender can be removed and others protected. The Diocese is here to offer whatever will help on your journey to healing. I pray daily for those wounded by abuse. If you know or suspect abuse has occurred, I again ask that you report to law enforcement and the Diocesan Victims Assistance Coordinator. This contact information is listed prominently on the Safe Environment page on our website.
Finally, I ask that you offer a word of encouragement to the many faithful priests who are also deeply hurt by the sins of their brothers. They continue to serve us faithfully at the altar, in the confessional, visiting the sick, accompanying the dying, caring for prisoners, and preaching the word of God. Their dedication to God’s call to serve us continues.
Thank you for your attention.
In January, KATC released a list of accused priests and other religious in the Diocese of Lafayette. Our producers and reporters scoured thousands of pages of documents – all public records – to find support for these accusations in the form of criminal charges, civil suit settlements, diocese statements, and court case evidence. Some of those records are recent, some decades old.
The number of people on KATC’s list will differ from the number of people on the Diocese list, because of differing criteria. For instance, the diocese list does not include people identified by the Jesuits as having credible accusations. KATC also included people who were identified by other dioceses as having credible accusations, if they also served in Lafayette Diocese churches. To read our criteria follow these links:
The List can be found here. The List: Accusations of Abuse in The Diocese of Lafayette (Part 1)
The second part of our series focused on promises kept by the Diocese of Lafayette. That story can be read here: The List: Were promises kept? (Part 2)
While the diocese is still working to release its own list, our investigation also uncovered questions about recent transparency and openness in the diocese. The third part in our series can be viewed here: The List: Transparency and openness (Part 3)
More can be read here: The List: A KATC Special Report
How to get help
KATC recognizes that hearing these stories will trigger memories and anguish for victims.
If you’ve been the victim of a sexual assault and you need help, there is help available.
We’ve put together a list of locations to find help, and numbers to call for help. You can find it here.
If you believe that a crime has been committed, please call your local law enforcement, or dial 911.
Here’s the letter released by the Diocese today: