Diocese of Houma-Thibodeaux Releases Names of Accused Priests
Today, the Diocese of Houma-Thibodeaux in Louisiana released a list of 9 priests who have served in their diocese and been accused of sexual abuse. We are grateful for this development and urge further action.
Releasing these names publicly is crucial not only for the healing of survivors, but also to encourage victims who may be suffering in silence to come forward and to deter future clergy sex crimes and cover-ups. However, releasing these names is only the first step on the path towards healing and deterrence.
If Bishop Shelton J. Fabre is confident in the accuracy of this list, we argue his immediate next step should reach out to Louisiana’s attorney general and urge an outside, independent investigation into his diocese and other dioceses in the state. Only trained law enforcement professionals can truly judge when an accusation is credible or not and compel full transparency.
While we are grateful for the release of this list, we believe there is additional detail that Bishop Fabre should release, including the dates when the diocese first learned about the allegations against these men and what steps were taken at that time. He should also add the date in which each priest had their faculties removed and if they served in any other parishes following the initial allegations. It is important for accountability to find out who knew what, when they knew it, and what they chose to do with that information.
Finally, this list should be permanently included on the diocesan website and ran at least quarterly in every parish bulletin. It should include every single proven, admitted, or accused church employee: bishops, priests, seminarians, brothers, nuns and lay people, no matter who supervised or ordained them, and no matter where they originated. In this list, Bishop Fabre should also put by each name the date when he or his staff first learned of the allegation against that priest.
Finally, we encourage anyone who may have seen, suspected, or suffered abuse at the hands of church officials to contact the Louisiana Child Abuse Hotline at 855-452-5437 to make a report, not the Diocese directly.
(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)