Church Officials in Lake Charles Lied About Being Informed of Abuse Allegations, SNAP Calls for AG Investigation

A new report has shown that the list of accused priests put out by a Catholic diocese in Louisiana was purposefully misleading. We call on the Louisiana Attorney General to investigate this and other wrongdoing committed by church officials in Louisiana.

According to an article from The Advocate, church officials at the Diocese of Lake Charles lied about when they learned of allegations against two abusive priests when publishing their list of accused clerics earlier this year. 

This kind of lie is egregious and unconscionable. We struggle to understand the arrogance that would make these church officials think their deception would go unnoticed. And we hope that this abuse of public trust and disdain for the truth will finally compel Louisiana Attorney General Jeffrey Landry to open an investigation into clergy abuse and cover-up in Louisiana.

Lake Charles officials claim that this was simply a misunderstanding of the “dates allegations received” threshold that they used for their list. In reality, this is yet another loophole that church officials found and used to continue to hide the fact that they were aware of abuse allegations against Fr. Gerard Smit and Fr. Mark Broussard long before they were willing to admit. 

This example is one reason why we always demand the lists put out by dioceses include information — accurate information— about when allegations were first received and what church officials did in response. It is critical to know what went wrong and who was involved so that wrongdoing can be rooted out, punished, and studied so that it will never happen again.

We are grateful to the reporters at The Advocate for discovering this deception. And we ache for those who were victimized by these men after the Diocese of Lake Charles had been originally informed of their abusive behavior, as well as for those whose reports were “airbrushed ... from history.” It is long past time for A.G. Landry to follow in the footsteps of peers like Josh Shapiro, Dana Nessel, and Gurbir Grewal and start taking cases of clergy abuse and cover-up seriously.

CONTACT: Zach Hiner, Executive Director (zhiner@snapnetwork.org, 517-974-9009), Tim Lennon, Board President (tlennon@snapnetwork.org, 415-312-5820)

(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


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  • Richard Windmann
    commented 2019-07-20 20:07:37 -0500
    AG Landry will never investigate the church in Louisiana. He thinks he needs the Catholic vote in a state that is almost 100% Catholic. His excuse is that according to Louisiana law, he cannot prosecute the church. That maybe true, but he can still investigate the church and turn over the results of his investigation to the various local district attorneys for prosecution. What he hasn’t considered is that there is a silent majority of Catholics in Louisiana who want an investigation, and are very dissatisfied with the current state of their church – I meet them all the time. I wonder what he’ll do for a living after the November election…

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