Austin Catholic priest accused of assaulting woman during last rites

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AUSTIN (KXAN) – A 75-year-old Catholic priest in Austin is accused of sexually assaulting a woman in hospice care, according to documents filed in court.

Rev. Gerold Langsch faces a misdemeanor assault by contact charge in connection with an incident that allegedly took place in October 2018 at a woman’s home while she was in hospice care. The woman suffered from several medical conditions and was put on hospice care due to complications with diabetes, according to the affidavit.

ACCUSED: List of Catholic priests accused of child sexual abuse in the Austin diocese 

“While on hospice, the victim’s ex-husband contacted the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic-based fraternal service, to inform them of the victim’s illness,” officials wrote in the affidavit. “They offered to send a priest to their home to give the victim her last rites, a religious ceremony to offer absolution of sins prior to dying through anointment.” 

The victim told police Langsch came to her home on Oct. 5 and touched her inappropriately after anointing her with holy water. He also allegedly asked her if it felt “good,” the affidavit stated.

“The victim was in shock, uncomfortable and very confused about what the suspect was doing,” police wrote. “She described the feeling like a ‘nasty, dirty piece of meat.'” 

Police investigated the alleged suspect, known to the victim only as “Father Gerold” with St. Paul’s Catholic Church. They identified Langsch as a suspect and on March 13, presented his photo in a lineup to the victim. She was able to positively identify Langsch in the lineup, according to the affidavit.

St. Paul’s Catholic Church website states Langsch was named reverend in Nov. 2015. The Knights of Columbus Austin chapter website lists Langsch as a chaplain with the group in 2017-2018.

Langsch was charged and arrested. His bond was set at $15,000 with the condition that he not make contact with the woman. He bonded out of Travis County Jail, records show.

KXAN reached out to St. Paul’s Catholic Church for comment but has not yet heard back. It is not known if he is still affiliated with the church or if any actions have been taken in light of the accusations.

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