Louisiana diocese releases names of clerics accused of abuse

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The Catholic diocese for southwest Louisiana released information Thursday about 12 clerics who officials say were credibly accused of sexual abuse.

“To the best of my knowledge, we have reviewed and acted upon every report we have received,” Bishop Glen John Provost of the Diocese of Lake Charles said in a video message .

The four diocesan priests include one accused in Houston as well as in southwest Louisiana, and one accused in Puerto Rico. Five members of religious orders include a Franciscan brother accused of misconduct both in Port Arthur, Texas, and Lake Arthur, Louisiana, and a Benedictine accused in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and in Houston.

One priest on the Lake Charles diocese’s list was accused in 2009 of misconduct in 1964, and the case was referred to the Lafayette diocese. Two others “appear on other lists of known Perpetrators” but have not been the subject of accusations in the Diocese of Lake Charles, according to the diocese.

The list describes the accusations as “sexual misconduct of a minor.”

Provost noted in a letter that some names may also be on the Lafayette diocese’s list, because the Lake Charles diocese was created from it in 1980.

The Diocese of Lafayette is where the first widely reported case of clergy sex abuse became public in the 1980s. Gilbert Gauthe pleaded guilty in 1985 to abusing 11 boys but testified that he had molested dozens.

Eight of the 12 clergy members on the Diocese of Lake Charles list are dead, two incarcerated, one “sentenced to a life of prayer and penance,” and one “prohibited from ministry.”

Bishop Douglas Deshotel has said he will release the list for the Diocese of Lafayette on Friday. In a separate letter, he said it will describe 33 priests and four deacons.

Lafayette will be the last of Louisiana’s seven dioceses to report.

The Archdiocese of New Orleans described 57 cases in November. The Diocese of Baton Rouge has reported 41, the Diocese of Alexandria 27 and the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux 14.

Seventeen names on the Alexandria list had ties to north Louisiana, The Times of Shreveport reported in February. However, the Rev. Peter B. Mangum, diocesan administrator, told the newspaper that the Diocese of Shreveport had not received any allegations of abuse by a bishop, priest or deacon since its creation in 1986.

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