Baton Rouge is now the third diocese in Louisiana releasing the list of accused priests.
The diocese is joining New Orleans and Houma-Thibodeaux in making the disclosure.
The Baton Rouge Bishop named 37 priests who have faced credible accusations of sexual abuse. On that list, priests with connections to Acadiana and the Diocese of Lafayette, first exposed by KATC Investigates earlier this month.
“My first concern was and has been for the persons victimized by this abuse who have often felt betrayed and unsupported by the church,” said Baton Rouge Bishop Michael Duca. “It has been my hope that this has been an important step that will help those men and women who’s lives have been so deeply violated.”
Duca says the church must be proactive and transparent in supporting victims. He hopes by releasing the list, they will regain the public’s trust, adding real healing can’t begin until we acknowledge the truths of the past.
“The list, this list reflects the lives of real people and a path of pain and suffering that affects the persons who were victims of abuse. This list is not the end, but an attempt to open the door on sexual abuse that many of us do not want to open,” Duca said.
He hopes victims of abuse will feel encouraged to come forward so they “no longer bear the pain alone.” Duca also prays that they church begins to change how things are done as a whole.
“I hope we can build into an environment of protection and awareness that keeps it from happening, but when it does happen we act decisively and caringly,” said Duca.
KATC Investigates uncovered an additional priest with ties to Baton Rouge and accusations of abuse…Robert Limoges.
Court records indicate he was sent off for treatment following abuse claims in Eunice and then, he was sent to Baton Rouge.
A spokesperson for the Diocese of Baton Rouge says they do not have records of allegations against him while in their diocese and that if Lafayette names him, they’ll add him to their list too.
Thursday afternoon, the Diocese of Lafayette released a statement following the Diocese of Baton Rouge’s list of credibly accused clergy.