The Diocese of Lafayette has acknowledged “The List” created by KATC of priests facing credible accusations of sex abuse. The diocese spokesperson, Blue Rolfes, called into KPEL following an interview of KATC anchor Jim Hummel by Carol Ross on the radio.
You can listen to Jim’s interview here:
Rolfes called into the show afterwards, saying she hadn’t received the messages that Ross was trying to reach her. She said that a group of professional people from within the diocese are acting as a layperson review committee, sifting through more than 100 years of documents to come up with a list of priests facing credible accusations.
“It’s not simply sitting down with Google and searching public records and going to court houses,” said Rolfes. “It’s a much more laborious, involved and highly legal process.”
As you may recall, the KATC investigative team did just that to create the list we published. There was nothing simple about that process though as it took years for us to compile and fact-check.
KATC chose to publish the list because the Diocese of Lafayette was giving no indication of when their list would be ready, despite acknowledging it 15 years ago. And since our requests for information were continuing to go unanswered, we felt it was in the public’s interest to know.
The KATC investigative team went to courthouses, police stations, district attorney’s offices and searched old media archives to find credible complaints against priests. We did not, of course, get access to confidential diocesan records, which may reveal more victims who only reported abuse to the church and not law enforcement.
Rolfes also told the radio station they made it known recently that their list would be ready in weeks (KATC did not get that notification despite our request, but other media outlets did).
She said the hold-up came because they didn’t have as many resources as other dioceses in the state. And because Lafayette is one of the older dioceses there are more records to look at.
She also said that since Bishop Douglas Deshotel has been here four priests facing credible accusations have been removed from ministry.
KATC has a standing request to speak to Bishop Deshotel on camera, so we are hopeful the diocese will keep its promise of being transparent and open about the process.
You can listen to Rolfes’ interview on KPEL here: