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Diocese clarifies comments on accused priest’s legal defense

Posted at 5:29 PM, Aug 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-28 18:29:00-04

The Diocese of Lafayette says it’s not paying for the legal defense of a St. Landry Parish priest accused of sexually assaulting a teenager, countering the bishop’s earlier comments that church law requires such assistance.

Michael Guidry
Michael Guidry

Michael Guidry served as pastor of St. Peter’s Church in Morrow when a deacon’s son came forward with allegations the priest had given him alcohol and molested him.

After the allegations surfaced, Bishop J. Douglas Deshotel told reporters that the Diocese “does not provide an attorney” but “it assists with payment. Church law requires that we help him to determine whether or not there was actually a crime or not.”

In a statement on Tuesday, the Diocese said that “several days” after that news conference, Guidry “met with law enforcement authorities eliminating the need for any legal determination.” The Diocese further directed “any other questions regarding his legal decisions” to the accused priest himself.

St. Landry Parish law enforcement said at the time of Guidry’s arrest that the priest confessed to the crimes.

The victim and his parents sued Guidry and the Diocese on Monday, claiming that a Diocesan official said they would discontinue therapy for the victim and his family should they file suit. The family’s attorney also provided a letter from the Diocese acknowledging that there was a luncheon held in honor Guidry after the allegations were reported.

Read more on that here.