Diocese of Lafayette priest removed due to allegations involving a minor

(For Immediate Release March 15, 2022) 

A priest from the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana has been suspended from ministry following allegations of “inappropriate contact” with a minor. We are grateful to the victim who came forward and made a report and we now call on church officials to be more transparent regarding the accusations against this priest and the steps they are taking to find and support other potential victims.

Fr. James De Oreo has been suspended after church officials from Lafayette-in-Indiana were made aware of allegations of inappropriate conduct with a minor that violates the Essential Norms and the Diocesan Code of Conduct for Clergy. Fr. De Oreo became ordained as a priest in 2018 and worked for St. Alphonsus Liguori Catholic Church in Zionsville before moving to Our Lady of Mount Carmel which has a grade school of approximately 600 students. We call on church officials to use pulpit announcements, parish websites, and other diocesan outreach tools to ensure parents and parishioners at each of these locations are informed of the allegations against Fr. De Oreo. Additionally, it is incumbent upon the Diocese of Lafayette to fully disclose the work history of Fr. De Oreo up to now and including his work as a seminarian. 

To us, the young age of newly identified abusive priests is a disturbing trend in the history of clergy abuse within the church. The alleged perpetrators are being caught early after ordination and, over the past two years, law enforcement in at least 30 states have arrested or started criminal proceedings against living, working clerics or staffers to the tune of two per month, according to SNAP’s internal records keeping. Despite church officials maintaining that sexual abuse within the church is a thing of the past, clearly, this is not the case. As we see it, the issue of abuse by the clergy or someone in authority isn't in the past, it is also in the future.

Fr. De Oreo was ordained in 2018 and may already have other victims. Because of the reality of delayed disclosure in cases of sex crimes, it is likely that other potential victims might take decades to come forward. We encourage anyone who may have information of other abuses by clergy members to report this immediately to authorities. It is rare that an abuser has just one victim. Similarly, we hope that the example of this brave survivor will encourage others who were hurt in Indiana to come forward and get help. 

CONTACT: Michael McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager ([email protected]267-261-0578 ), Jim Brigl , SNAP Leader Indiana  ([email protected], 260-302-4003), Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009)

(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 www.SNAPnetwork.org


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