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Former St. Landry Priest Michael Guidry sentenced to 10 years in prison

Posted at 10:50 AM, Apr 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-14 18:08:56-04

Convicted St. Landry Parish priest Michael Guidry has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for child molestation, with three years suspended – meaning he will serve as much as seven years in prison.

Michael Guidry<figcaption class="wp-caption-text" id="caption-attachment-24618">Michael Guidry

Guidry, 76, who most recently served at Saint Peter’s Church in Morrow,pleaded guilty in March to molesting a deacon’s son after giving him alcohol. He was taken into DOC custody today and now is in prison in Avoyelles Parish.

Guidry faced 5 to 10 years in prison. As part of his plea deal, Guidry was placed on the sex offender registry.

The former pastor of St. Peter’s Church in Morrow was arrested in June 2018 after a deacon’s son, Oliver Peyton, came forward to allege the priest had given him alcohol and molested him. In December 2018, Guidry was formally charged with molestation of a juvenile by the St. Landry Parish District Attorney.

Before handing down Guidry’s sentence, Judge Alonzo Harris heard witness testimony from the victim’s parents and brother who gave emotional statements calling for the maximum sentence for a man that they described as  a “wolf in shepherd’s clothing.”

<figcaption class="wp-caption-text" id="caption-attachment-200494">Scott and Letitia Peyton walk out of the St. Landry Parish Courthouse after Michael Guidry receives the maximum sentence for abusing their son.

The first to take the stand was Scott Peyton, the victim’s father and a deacon who worked in the Diocese of Lafayette alongside Guidry at St. Peter’s Church.

“This sex offender chose our family in 2006, groomed us, groomed our son,” said Peyton. “He was a wolf in shepherd’s clothing, patiently waiting to devour the flock.”

Peyton condemned Guidry for using his position as a priest to gain and then betray the trust of his son and the rest of his family.

“While he may have worn the clothes of a priest and went through the motions, Guidry was the opposite of what Christ teached,” added Scott Peyton. “He acted as an anti-Christ.”

Alex Peyton, the victim’s older brother, then took the stand after his father.

“My brother and I have been best friends for 19 years,” said Alex Peyton. ” I stand by him, he stands tall and proud. He is not weak. He is an Easter person. A person of light and new life.”

Next, Letitia Peyton took the stand while fighting back tears to declare that Guidry’s sin was the “attempted murder of the soul” of her son.

“Never did we think that you could have ever done such a thing to one of our children or anyone else’s child for that matter,” said Letitia Peyton. “You groomed us well. Satan is a master of deception. As a result of your perverse and sick pleasures, we have lost so much, but we will not be defeated. We are broken, but we will heal.”

Harris also heard witness testimony from Dr. Larry Benoit, a clinical psychologist called by the defense who has been treating Guidry in a specialized sex offender group therapy for the last two months. Benoit testified that he didn’t accept or treat “fixated pedophiles” or psychopaths for the program and that Guidry didn’t meet either of those criteria.

Benoit also testified that Guidry was at very low risk or recidivism, or the tendency to reoffend, which he estimated to be a 2.8 percent chance. When compared to other sex offenders, Benoit said Guidry fell in the 20th percentile where 80 percent of sex offenders are more likely to reoffend.

Guidry himself then made a statement to the court.

“I would like to say I’m very sorry for the things that happened,” Guidry said while facing the judge. “I know what I did was wrong.”

Harris also mentioned that he had received and read several letters of recommendation for Guidry pleading for leniency on his behalf.

“Certain things in life we just can’t tolerate,” said Harris just before handing down the sentence. “One is sexual abuse by a priest on our children.”

Guidry was taken into custody right after Monday’s sentencing hearing and transferred to Avoyelles Parish Jail.

The Peyton family still has a civil lawsuit pending against Guidry and the Diocese of Lafayette.

  • <div class="caption-wrap"><div class="caption">Artwork: Adrian Fulton / Michael Guidry courtroom sentencing

KATC’s Abby Breidenbach was LIVE this morning for Monday’s sentencing hearing.

During a hearing in early April, Judge Alonzo Harris ordered that Guidry be placed on the sex offender registry and turn over his passport.

Guidry is listed in both Acadia Parish, where he lives, and St. Landry Parish, where his church was located, as a sex offender.

To read more on Guidry, see the stories below:

Former St. Landry Parish priest accused of sexual abuse pleads guilty

Former priest on sex offender registry while he awaits sentencing

To read about other priests in Acadiana with credible accusations of sexual abuse:

The List

[DISCLAIMER: It is the policy of KATC TV3 not to reveal the identity of victims of sexual abuse. However, after today’s court hearing, Oliver Peyton and his family gave direct consent to KATC to use his name in our coverage.]