Diocese of Baton Rouge Adds Name of Priest First Accused in 1994
Catholic officials in Baton Rouge have added the name of a “credibly accused" priest to their public list of abusers. This cleric was first accused in 1994, so we call on them to immediately explain the delay.
While allegations against Fr. George Gensler were first brought to diocesan authorities in 1994, other victims reportedly stepped forward in 2018 and 2020. The Diocese of Baton Rouge released their list of abusers in 2019, so we are incredibly confused as to why a man who had apparently been accused of abuse at least two times before their list was published went unnamed. This seems to us to be a direct violation of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishop’s 2002 promise to remove all clergy who had allegations of abuse.
Bishop Michael Duca owes parishioners and the public an explanation for this delay. If Catholic officials in 1994 were willing to remove Fr. Gensler from ministry, it seems to us that Bishop Duca should have included the priest on his list when it was first published. Such a blatant omission does not inspire confidence that diocesan leaders in Baton Rouge are being honest about the scope of clergy abuse within their borders. This failure to mention Fr. Gensler not only fails to assure us that future cases of abuse are being prevented by the diocese, but also actively hinders the healing of victims who may still feel they are alone and have yet to come forward. This is definitely not the openness and transparency we expected after the 2002 promises of Catholic officials.
According to SNAP’s internal analytics, the total abuser count of 46 is still low. We believe more revelations about more priests are inevitable given the nationwide statistics we are tracking. Given the glaring omission of Fr. Gensler, we worry that there are other, still hidden names in the Diocese of Baton Rouge that would drive this ratio even lower.
The people of Baton Rouge should demand answers from their local Catholic officials, and diocesan authorities must explain this delay now.
(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)