The List: Accusations of Abuse in The Diocese of Lafayette
Fifteen years after acknowledging it exists, and months after promising its release, the Diocese of Lafayette still has not released a list of priests who have faced credible accusations of sexual abuse involving children. KATC Investigates is breaking that silence, and releasing its own list.
In Louisiana, both the Archdiocese of New Orleans and the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux have followed through on a pledge of transparency, joining more than 70 dioceses and Catholic religious organizations across the country who have released their lists.
Just last week the Diocese in Lafayette said they are still examining the past 50 years of files and will release their list when they’re finished.
The “list” was first acknowledged by the Diocese of Lafayette in February 2004 by former Bishop Michael Jarrell; our reporters have been requesting the diocese disclose those names since then. They refused until last fall, when Bishop Douglas Deshotel joined other dioceses in the state in making the pledge to release them.
KATC believes the public has waited long enough, and has a right to know, so we are releasing the list of priests with credible accusations we’ve assembled following years of pouring over public records and media reports, using all the investigative techniques we know.
KATC Investigates started by putting together a list of priests and church employees who have been accused of sexual abuse. Our producers and reporters then scoured thousands of pages of documents – all public records – to find support for these accusations in the form of criminal charges, civil suit settlements, diocese statements and court case evidence. Some of those records are recent, some decades old.
While we have continually run up against roadblocks – some cases remain sealed, some have been destroyed – we still found more than twice the number of credibly accused priests that Bishop Jarrell acknowledged in 2004.
We aired the first part of our series tonight. The second part airs tomorrow night at 10 p.m.