LA- Lafayette predator priest quietly sent to Baton Rouge; SNAP responds
For immediate release: Monday, Sept. 8, 2014
A Louisiana newspaper has disclosed that a Lafayette predator priest was quietly sent to work in the Baton Rouge diocese. We strongly suspect that he is living or working among unsuspecting neighbors or colleagues. So for the protection of kids and the healing of victims, we urgently call on Baton Rouge Bishop Robert W. Muench to:
–warn his flock about the priest (through news conferences, news releases, on church websites, etc.),
–aggressively seek out anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered the cleric's crimes and
–disclose whether there are or have been other pedophile priests who molested elsewhere and were secretly transferred to his diocese.
In the 1980s, Lafayette diocese officials “quietly moved another child sex-abusing priest, Fr. Robert Limoges, to the neighboring Diocese of Baton Rouge,” reported The Advocate yesterday.
The revelation comes from long-secret Catholic church records that were unsealed in litigation and sought first by Minnesota Public Radio (for a profile of a former Louisiana bishop).
Fr. Limoges was first exposed as a child molester almost three decades ago.
Baton Rouge Bishop Robert Muench has had more than a dozen years to tell parishioners, police, prosecutors and the public about Fr. Limoges. We see no evidence that he ever did. That's stunningly callous and reckless. Bishop Muench, like his colleagues, have repeatedly promised to be “open” about clergy sex cases. He has broken this promise. Shame on him. And shame on every Catholic official – in Baton Rouge and Lafayette – who knew and stayed silent – for decades - about the dangerous, secret transfer of Fr. Limoges.
More than 25 years ago, in 1986, journalist Jason Berry reported:
“In 1984, Fr. Robert Limoges, left for an undisclosed treatment center after families in Eunice and Lafayette complained to their respective district attorneys” and “Seven priests—Gauthe, Fontenot, Limoges, Engbers, Hebert, the priest in treatment and the priest now in another diocese—have left Lafayette diocesan parishes.”
We desperately hope Fr. Limoges has not molested more kids in Baton Rouge. But dozens of Catholic officials have made it easy for him to do so.
And we hope that Louisiana parishioners, police, parents and prosecutors tell officials - both secular and religious, for the safety of innocent kids and the healing of suffering victims - that these names should be made public.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, firstname.lastname@example.org), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
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.