Judge: Baton Rouge diocese, area Catholic priest to remain in suit involving confessional
By Joe Gyan Jr., August 21, 2017, The Advocate
A state judge refused Monday to dismiss the Roman Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge and a priest from a 2009 lawsuit by a woman who says that when she was a teenager she told the priest she was being sexually abused by a church parishioner, but he did not stop or report the alleged abuse.
District Judge Mike Caldwell said it will be up to an East Baton Rouge Parish jury to decide whether what Rebecca Mayeux allegedly told Father Jeff Bayhi in the confessional was in fact a confession as defined by the Catholic Church, and therefore confidential, or whether she was merely seeking support and guidance instead of confessing sins.
Caldwell and a state appeals court both ruled last year that Mayeux can tell a jury what she allegedly told Bayhi in the confessional.
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.