LA--New bishop tapped; Victims respond
For immediate release: Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2016
A new bishop has been picked to head the Lafayette Louisiana diocese (where more than 30 years ago, Fr. Gilbert Gauthe became the first pedophile priest in the US made national headlines.) We think this is another irresponsible move by Vatican officials.
A Louisiana native, Auxiliary Bishop Douglas Deshotel of Dallas has been in the “inner circle” in that diocese for years. He’s also been on the priest personnel board and the ‘review board’ that looks at clergy sex abuse reports. We have seen no evidence, however, that he has done anything noteworthy to protect kids and deter cover ups by exposing those who commit or conceal heinous crimes against children. So we are disappointed in Deshotel’s promotion.
According to BishopAccountability.org, there are 20 publicly accused predator priests in Dallas. We can find no instance in which Deshotel or his church colleagues voluntarily disclosed any information about any of them, made any of them live in a treatment center far away, or took any but the most minimal, mandatory steps regarding them.
In fact, Deshotel stayed silent when a proven Dallas predator priest was put back on the just two years ago: http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2014/07_08/2014_07_29_David_Priests_TX-_priest.htm
This is reckless, callous and in violation of the countless “zero tolerance” promises by Catholic officials keep making but ignoring.
Roughly 30 US bishops have posted predator priests’ names on their websites. Sadly, neither Dallas nor Lafayette are among them.
As long as Catholic officials elevate clerics who show no genuine concern for the safety of kids, this long abuse and cover up nightmare in the church will continue.
According to BishopAccountability.org, there are at least 22 Lafayette priests who have been publicly accused of abusing kids. We believe the real total – in both dioceses - is much higher.
In Lafayette, we’re especially concerned about two Lafayette predator priests:
--Fr. Stanley Begnaud who was “outed” as an accused predator only 1.5 years ago and only in one news outlet.
--Fr. Marshall Larriviere who was “outed” as an accused predator less than two years ago in Florida.
We hope that Bishop Deshotel will be a better advocate for clergy sex abuse victims than his predecessor was. Though we are not confident, we hope that Bishop Deshotel will reverse the hurtful trends of his predecessors and instead tackle sex crimes against children head on, and do everything in his power to keep his flock safe and informed about this crisis. For the safety of kids, he should immediately
--post a list of all credibly accused child molesting clerics on his diocesan website, along with their photos, whereabouts and work histories,
--use church bulletins, parish websites and pulpit announcements to seek out anyone who saw, suspected or suffered crimes by Fr. Begnaud or Fr. Larriviere and beg them to call police.
We hope Bishop Deshotel will take this advice and these requests to heart and take decisive action within his first 100 days on the job in Lafayette.
And until he takes tangible, proven steps to better protect kids from pedophile priests, we hope everyone with information or suspicions about child molesting clerics or their corrupt colleagues will call the independent professionals in law enforcement, not the biased and often self-serving bureaucrats in church offices.
(For a good look at abuse and cover up in the Lafayette diocese, we urge you to listen to this report: http://www.mprnews.org/listen?name=/minnesota/news/features/2014/07/14/flynn_in_lafayette_20140714
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has 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)
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.