Archdiocese of Indianapolis Priest Plea Deal is a Miscarriage of Justice; SNAP responds
(For Immediate Release November 10, 2022)
David Marcotte, an Indianapolis Catholic priest who was suspended in February 2019 amid allegations of sexual abuse involving a minor, agreed to plead guilty to one charge filed against him in March 2022. Marcotte, 32, pleaded guilty to one count of dissemination of matter harmful to minors, a level 6 felony, according to the Hamilton Superior Court plea agreement.
As reported by WRTV News, a judge sentenced suspended Indianapolis priest David Marcotte to a year in home detention on Wednesday, November 9, 2022, as part of a plea agreement that concludes his trial on allegations of sexual abuse of a teenage boy six years ago. Judge Jonathan M. Brown addressed the victim's distraught parents during a hearing in Hamilton Superior Court as he accepted a plea agreement, which they both implored him to reject.
We first want to applaud and acknowledge the brave victim and his family in this case. It takes a lot of strength and courage to come forward, especially at a young age. We echo the sentiments of the victim’s impact statement which in part said, ‘This entire legal experience has been all the dis-illusionment a child (and) young man could ever ask for," the victim said in his letter. "Reliving this experience through the lens of Indiana and Hamilton County law has been salt to an unstitched wound." We cannot help but feel that charges of this magnitude deserved a much stronger sentence and less from the mouth of a predator. We too feel this is a miscarriage of justice.
According to the plea deal, Marcotte must serve another 18 months on probation after completing his year of home detention. A two-and-a-half-year prison sentence was also suspended by the judge. Marcotte avoids prison and does not have to register as a sex offender because of the agreement.
According to a spokesman for the archdiocese, Marcotte is still suspended from the ministry. The archdiocese's spokesman declined to comment on whether Marcotte would be allowed to return to the priesthood. It is astonishing to us that church officials would even entertain employment as a priest or any other role for Marcotte. Letting the wolf back into the pasture would lead to another tragedy.
This case is yet another example that Catholic officials, who insist that the sexual abuse scandal is 'in the past,' are simply wrong. Marcotte was only ordained in 2014 and is still very young. We find it hard to believe that prayers, penance, home detention, and a few visits from probation will stop his criminal compulsions.
Across the country, an average of two clerics are charged each month with crimes against children or targeted adults. We urge Catholic officials in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis to begin the process of removing Marcotte from the clerical state, which would be taking initiative and showing some responsibility for employing this perpetrator. We also feel that church officials have an obligation to share where Marcotte will be living during his home detention and if the Diocese will be responsible for his expenses during this time. Moral responsibility demands nothing less.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)