LA- Lafayette predator priest quietly sent to Alexandria
For immediate release: Wednesday, September 10, 2014
A Louisiana newspaper has revealed that a Lafayette area predator priest was quietly sent to Alexandria where he worked for the church.
He is Fr. Joseph Pelletieri, who was a priest and school principal in Crowley, but also worked in Wisconsin, Alexandria, and Baton Rouge. It's unclear whether he's still alive or if so, where he may be now.
Secretly and repeatedly moving a credibly accused child molester like this demonstrates the callousness of Catholic officials’ when it comes to children’s safety.
We fear that Fr. Pelletieri may have abused other children in each of the dioceses he was quietly sent to. As far as we can tell there was no warning given to parents, parishioners, or the public about this dangerous predator being sent to work in these dioceses among unsuspecting congregants, colleagues and neighbors.
And we strongly suspect that Alexandria Catholic officials knew about the child sex abuse allegations against Fr. Pettetieri before he arrived there.
Regardless of when Alexandria’s Bishop Ronald Herzog knew about Fr. Pettetieri, within hours of The Lafayette Advocate's Sunday story about these allegations, the bishop should have told parishioners, police, prosecutors and the public about them. That's the absolute bare minimum that a caring shepherd would do.
We desperately hope Fr. Pelletieri did not molest more kids in these other places. Experience tells us that it is highly likely that he did. Predators rarely strike once.
The bishops in every diocese where Fr. Pelletieri worked should personally visit every parish where he was. They should beg victims and witnesses to come forward, call police, and get help. They should also post, for the safety of children, the names of every predator priest on their diocesan websites. (Roughly 30 US bishops have done this, but none in Louisiana ever have.)
We hope that every single person who saw, suspected, or suffered crimes or misdeeds in Alexandria, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, and Wisconsin – by Fr. Pelletieri or other clerics – will call police, get help, expose wrongdoers, protect kids and star healing.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have 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)