ST. MARTINVILLE — Eleven men have filed a lawsuit against the Diocese of Lafayette and St. Martin de Tours Church over allegations that a priest there sexually abused them decades ago.
Doug Bienvenu and 11 John Does filed the suit in St. Martin Parish court on Sept. 11. They allege the late priest Kenneth Morvant sexually molested them from 1971 at least until 1979.
“The abuse that Morvant inflicted on all of the minors was consistent in its use of both alcohol and the power of God to prey on minors who attended and were altar boys at the St. Martin de Tours Catholic Church,” the suit reads.
Bienvenu claims he suffered the molestation on at least 15 separate occasions from 1971-73, when he was between 8 and 9 years old: “removing (his) clothing while asleep or drunk, physical touching of (Bienvenu), and masturbation by Morvant.”
The other John Does claim the same abuse, with some of the claims including allegations of oral and anal sex.
The claims were first raised in a lawsuit in the District of Columbia and included the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops as a defendant. But a judge dismissed the claims against the diocese and church, finding the claims were filed in the wrong court.
KATC talked to Doug Bienvenu last month. He said he decided to come forward with his claims when he saw Morvant was buried prominently at the church. More on that here.
Read the St. Martin Parish lawsuit below.