There is a long and tragic history of priest abuse in Louisiana, evidenced by past cases that have gained nationwide attention. Recently, however, the state government has changed the laws that prevented many survivors from filing claims as adults. These changes provide new opportunities for child sex abuse cases that would previously have expired based on statutes of limitations.
In combination with the list of priests accused of abuse by each diocese in Louisiana, many victims of clergy abuse are able to identify and hold accountable Catholic clergy members that may have abused them in the past. The current “lookback window” might allow these brave survivors to file criminal charges or civil lawsuits no matter how long ago the abuse occurred.
HB-492 Expands The Rights of Victims in Louisiana
The Louisiana legislature passed House Bill 492, and it was signed into law on June 14, 2021 by Governor John Bel Edwards to take effect on August 1, 2021. This new law helps protect the rights of child sex abuse victims in three important ways:1
- Eliminating the statute of limitations for civil lawsuits alleging child sexual abuse
- Establishing a lookback window of three years to revive the claims of past victims no matter how long ago the abuse allegedly occurred
- Removing previous limitations that only allowed survivors of clergy abuse to file claims up to age 28
Current Statutes of Limitations for Priest Abuse in Louisiana
Under the new law, the statutes of limitations for civil lawsuits have been eliminated; however, the law is not retroactive. This is one reason it is important for survivors to file before the lookback window closes on July 31, 2024. Statutes of limitations for criminal charges vary by the type of crime and the evidence available.2
Civil Statutes of Limitations for Child Sex Abuse in Louisiana
As of August 1, 2021, there is no time limit for survivors to file personal injury lawsuits against Louisiana priests or other child molesters who are accused of sexually abusing them when they were children. While the change is not retroactive, an open lookback window allows victims to file civil suits no matter how long ago the alleged abuse happened.2
Criminal Statutes of Limitations for Child Sex Abuse in Louisiana
Certain sexual crimes, including aggravated and forcible rape, have no criminal statute of limitations in Louisiana. For other child sex felonies the criminal charges must be filed by the time the alleged victim reaches the age of 48. In cases where law enforcement has DNA evidence, the statute of limitations may be extended.2
Louisiana Clergy Abuse Lawsuits
The opening of the lookback window has increased the number of lawsuits filed against Catholic dioceses in Louisiana dramatically. There have been high-visibility cases in Louisiana before, and each new case adds to the official list each diocese must keep of Catholic priests that have been credibly accused.
While many priests in Louisiana have been accused in civil lawsuits and may have made settlements or paid court ordered compensation for their actions, others have faced criminal charges. Gilbert Gauthe was one of the first Catholic priests in the United States whose priest abuse scandal raised national attention.
Father Gauthe ultimately admitted to abusing 37 children between 1972 and 1983, and he was sentenced to 20 years in prison on a plea bargain agreement. After serving 10 years, he was released on probation in 1997 and went on to abuse another child in Texas, where he also served time in jail.3
Louisiana Priest Abuse Settlements
Many cases of alleged priest abuse are settled out of court, and very often the survivors must agree not to talk about their case or disclose the amount they were paid. It is known that in the course of six years that the New Orleans Archdiocese paid more than $3 million dollars to the victims of Gilbert Gauthe.4
The summary of these settlements includes:
- $1.25 million was paid to an 11-year-old boy and his parents. The boy suffered severe emotional issues after being molested by Gauthe.
- $1.8 million was paid to a former altar boy of Gauthe who was abused more than 30 times at St. John’s in Henry, LA.
- $18 million dollars was paid by the Diocese of Lafayette to 34 additional victims of Father Gauthe.
The Archdiocese of New Orleans Declared Bankruptcy
In May of 2020, the Archdiocese of New Orleans filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in order to put a halt to active claims regarding priest abuse in New Orleans and attempt to limit new claims being filed. This is a common tactic, with more than 20 other dioceses filing bankruptcy nationwide.5 This kind of bankruptcy allowed the organization to require cases alleging archdiocesan deacons and priests to be filed by March 1, 2021.
While many think these actions are a blatant act to limit the rights of survivors, it does not prevent lawsuits being filed against other dioceses in Louisiana or against a church, parish, or religious organization where the abusive clergy member worked.
Lists of Priests Accused of Abuse in Louisiana
Included below is the list of priests that have been credibly accused of child sex abuse in Louisiana to date. Because the Diocese of Shreveport was set apart from the Diocese of Alexandria in 1986, be sure to check the Alexandria list for the parishes that now belong to the Shreveport diocese.
These lists are provided for informational purposes only, and these individuals are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Boards of review determine if accusations received by a diocese are considered credible, and many settlement agreements make no admission of guilt.
Priests Accused of Abuse in the Diocese of Alexandria
These Catholic clergy members are listed as being credibly accused in the diocese of Alexandria:6
Father Edward Terry Allen. Father Allen was ordained in 1961 and was accused of abusing a minor male in 1973. A settlement was reached in 2012, and Allen died in 2018.
Father William G. Allison. Father Allison worked in Louisiana, Arizona, and California after being ordained in 1948. Several suits were filed against him in all of these states for abusing young males; several of these accusations are deemed credible.
Father John Wesley Andries. Ordained in 1996, Father Andries was accused of sexual contact with boys in 1998 and 2001. He pleaded guilty to sexual battery and was sentenced to five years in prison, with three years suspended. A lawsuit was filed in 2003, and the case was settled in 2012. Andries passed away in 2013.
Father Gielse Boyer. Father Boyer is listed by the diocese as credibly accused after reports received in 2019 alleging that he abused a boy in the mid-1970s. Boyer was ordained in 1954 and died in 1988.
Father Paul Conway. Father Conway was ordained in 1948 and rose to the rank of monsignor. He is accused of sexually abusing minor females as far back as 1956; these accusations were deemed credible in 2004, resulting in settlements with victims in 2005 and 2017.
Father Francis O. Couvillion. Father Couvillion was named as credibly accused following a review of his file in 2019. Allegations of him sexually abusing young males during the 1950s led to this decision, even though Couvillion died in 1978.
Father Charles Dekeukelare. Ordained in 1948, Father Dekeukelare was convicted of indecent behavior with a juvenile, pleading guilty in 1982. The incidents occurred in Avoyelles Parish. He was assigned from 1955 to 1982 at Our Lady of Lourdes in the Fifth Ward.
Father Francis Patrick Donohoe. Father Donohoe served the diocese from 1942 until he was removed from active ministry in 1966, and then passed away in 1983. A review of his file showed multiple allegations of abusing young males in the 1960s, and he was named as credibly accused in 2019.
Father Harvey J. Fortier. Father Fortier was ordained in 1955 and accused of sexual abuse of a minor in 1994. The incident allegedly occurred in 1954. A settlement was made with the victim in 1995, and Fortier died in 1999.
Father Robert Friend. Father Friend was a monsignor who passed away in 1977. He was accused in 2004 of sexually abusing a young male in 1954. This accusation was deemed credible by the diocese, which made a settlement to the victim in 2005.
Father Edmond L. Gagne. Father Gagne is listed as credibly accused in the diocese list of 2019. He worked in a Marksville parish in 1974, and then was transferred to Houston, Texas. He was removed from the ministry in 1986 and died in 1990. A review of his file found multiple allegations of sexually abusing minor males in the 1980s.
Father Moise Richard Gremillion. Father Gremillion was ordained in 1933 and retired from the ministry in 1969. He is listed by the diocese as credibly accused, based on reports of him sexually abusing young men beginning in the 1960.
Father Michael G. Hannon. Ordained in 1952, Father Hannon also worked in the Diocese of Brooklyn. Multiple accusations of abusing minor males in the 1960s were found to be credible by the diocese of Alexandria. Hannon died in 2000.
Deacon Raymond M. Jones. Deacon Jones was suspended in 1986 when allegations arose that he had sexually abused a minor male in 1982. His ordination was canceled, and he remains listed as credibly accused.
Father Theodore M. Lelieveld. Father Lelieveld was ordained in 1957. The diocese received allegations that he sexually abused young men in the 1960s and determined that the accusations were credible. Lelieveld was murdered in 1976.
Father Frederick J. Lyons. Ordained in 1952, Father Lyons was placed on leave in 2006 when two reports of sexual misconduct with minors were raised and deemed credible. These incidents reportedly occurred “decades” ago. He was ordered to live a life of prayer and penance by the Vatican.
Father Kenneth M. Mathews. Father Mathews was ordained in 1978 and left the ministry in 1998. Multiple allegations of sexually abusing minor males in the 1980s led to him being listed as credibly accused in 2019. Mathews died in 2008.
Father Donald P. McCarthy. Father McCarthy was ordained in 1959 and worked in Texas and Kansas. He was named in a lawsuit in 2005, along with Leger Tremblay, for allegedly raping a 14-year-old boy in 1955 in the Alexandria diocese. McCarthy met the alleged victim from Camp Maryhill near Pineville. Statutes of limitations caused the case to be dismissed in 2006. McCarthy passed away in 2017.
Father Jamie Medina-Cruz. Father Medina-Cruz was born in Puerto Rico and ordained in 1999. He was removed from St. Mary’s Assumption in Cottonport and St. Joseph’s in Marksville in 2013. He was accused of misconduct with a minor and under investigation by the sheriff’s office when he was found dead in a hotel room.
Father Adrian Molenschot. Ordained in 1932, Father Molenshot was accused of sexual misconduct and abuse of minors as far back as the 1960s. He died in 1994 and was listed as credibly accused by the diocese in 2019.
Father Yves Robitaille. Father Robitaille is accused of sexually abusing a young boy in the 1950s. He retired in 1990 and died in 1998. Robitaille was named as credibly accused by the diocese in 2019.
Father Donald Rogers. In 2004 an allegation was made that Father Rogers sexually abused a young male in 1962. Further diocese review of his file showed multiple credible allegations, and he is included in the 2019 diocese list. Rogers was removed from the ministry in 1967.
Father Louis P. Senesac. Father Senesac was ordained in 1935, died in 1966, and was added to the diocese list as credibly accused in 2019. Senesac was assigned to the Church of the Little Flower in Evergreen from 1941 to 1948 and is accused of sexually abusing a minor male in 1945.
Father Victor Sepsi. Father Sepsi was named in the 2019 diocese list after several allegations of sexual abuse of minors were found in his file, dating back to the 1960s. Sepsi left the ministry in 1967.
Father H. Clinton Teacle. Father Teacle was a monsignor who died in 1969 and was named as credibly accused by the diocese in 2019. Allegations of sexual abuse of male minors were made in 2009, regarding incidents that would have occured in the 1960s.
Father Joseph Tisch. Father Tisch was accused in 2014 of abusing a young male in 1967. He left the ministry in 1968 and died in 2007 after being publicly separated from the Church.
Father J.C. Leger Tremblay. Father Tremblay was ordained in 1948 and accused in 2005 of raping a 14-year-old boy in 1955. The alleged incident was reported to the diocese in 1990 after Tremblay was removed from the ministry in 1987. He was defrocked in 1989 and died in 2002. Settlements were made to victims in 2004 and 2005.
Father Leo Van Hoorn. Originally from Holland, Father Van Hoorn was ordained in 1955, suspended from the ministry in 1979, and died in 2006. Allegations were made to the diocese in 2006 that he sexually abused a minor male in 1967. A lawsuit was filed in 2020 alleging Van Hoorn abused a first- or second-grade boy at Sacred Heart of Jesus in Pineville between 1962-1963.
Father Nino Viviano. Ordained in 1964, Father Viviano is accused of sexually abusing a minor female in the early 1960s. He is listed as credibly accused by the diocese in 2019. Viviano retired in 1998 and lived in a nursing home as of 2019.
Priests Accused of Abuse in the Diocese of Baton Rouge
There are 19 priests listed as credibly accused of abuse in the Diocese of Baton Rouge.7
Father John Joseph Berube. Father Berube was ordained in 1953 and named in a lawsuit filed in 2003 alleging that he abused four young men over a six-month period in 1965 while working at St. Theresa of Avila. He was transferred, also working in Canada and Boston. There was a settlement with the victims in 2004.
Father Carmelo Ignatius Camenzuli. Ordained in 1966, Father Camenzuli was originally ordained in Peru. In 2000, allegations of abuse were made regarding incidents in the 1980s while he worked at St. Joseph Cathedral. He is listed as credibly accused and died in 1998.
Father David William Chaloux. Father Chaloux was ordained in 1972 and listed as credibly accused by the diocese based on reports received in 2018 of abuse that occured in the 1970s. Chaloux passed away in 1990.
Father James Preston Clemez. Father Clemez was ordained in 1945 and listed as credibly accused by the diocese based on reports received in 2005 and 2018 alleging abuse that occurred in the 1960s. He is deceased as of 2001.
Father John J. Coyne. Ordained in 1941, an allegation of abuse was made in 2002 against Father Coyne for incidents that occured between 1968 and 1972. Coyne worked in New Orleans in 1979 and died in 1981. The diocese lists him as credibly accused.
Seminarian James Funnell. James Funnell is listed as credibly accused by the diocese based on multiple allegations of abuse while he was a youth minister in Baker, Louisiana during the 1970s. He went on leave in 1979 and did not return to the diocese. The accusations were filed from 2012 to 2016.
Father George David Gensler. Father Gensler was ordained in 1970 and also served as a police officer in Lafayette and New Orleans. Multiple accusations of abuse were made against him in 1994, 2018, and 2020 for incidents that would have occurred in the 1970s while he worked at St. Anthony’s in Darrow. Gensler died in 2016.
Father Bryan Keith Gray. Ordained in 1979, Father Gray is named as credibly accused based on allegations in 1992 that he abused a minor between in the 1970s and 1980s. He was placed on leave in 1992.
Father Alphonse Rodrigue Hemond. Father Hemond worked in Texas, Rhode Island, Canada, and several locations in Louisiana until he died in 1990. Multiple accusations were made of abuse which allegedly occurred in the 1960 to 1970s while he worked at St. Thomas More in Baton Rouge.
Father Myles Joseph Kearney. Ordained in 1971, accusations of abuse were raised in 2002 against Father Kearney that were found credible, for incidents occurring in the 1980s while he worked at St. John the Evangelist in Prairieville. (Note that this is not the priest of the same name who was ordained in 1938.)
Father Mansour Lebaky. Father Lebaky worked with a children’s choir in Lebanon and in the United States in the 1970s. Beginning in 2011, multiple women accused Lebaky of abusing them while they were children. At least 27 alleged victims have come forward, some as young as seven at the time. The incidents reportedly occurred from 1976 to 1997. He was tried and convicted in France of sexually assaulting children, yet is reported to remain in Lebanon, which refused extradition.
Father Clyde Bernard Landry. Ordained in 1973, Father Landry resigned and was placed on leave in 1988, after allegations were received of abuse. He went on to work in New Mexico and at an aftercare center for pedophile priests. More reports were made in 2002 and 2004. Father Landry died in 2003.
Father Joseph LeFrois. Father LeFrois was ordained in 1944 and listed as credibly accused as of 2019. He died in 1992. The allegations were received in 1994, alleging abuse occurring in the 1950s while he worked at Immaculate Conception in Plaquemine.
Father Daniel Paul Lemoine. Ordained in 1979, Father Lemoine was named in a lawsuit in 1999 alleging that he abused a teenage boy in the 1960s. The case was settled in 2002. Multiple allegations exist in Lemoine’s diocese file, and he was placed on leave in 1994.
Father Nicholas Joseph Martrain. Father Martrain is listed as credibly accused based on allegations received in 2002 of abuse occurring before 1980. He was ordained in 1965 and left the ministry in 1982.
Father Salvador Nickie Moran. AKA “Butch,” Father Moran was accused in 1994 and 2004 of abuse occuring in the 1970 to 1980s. Ordained in 1972, he worked at St. Joseph the Worker in Pierre Part and St. Philip in Vacherie. He was placed on leave in 1994.
Father Henry Neubig. Father Neubig was first ordained for the Archdiocese of New Orleans, later moving to Baton Rouge diocese in 1961. He was ordained in 1934 and died in 1975. In 2007 he was accused of abuse during the 1950s when he worked at Immaculate Conception in Lakeland.
Father Jesse Ray Ortego. Father Ortego was ordained in 1970 and is listed by the diocese as credibly accused based on an accusation made in 2008 of abuse occurring in the 1970s. Ortego worked at Our Lady of the Holy Rosary in St. Amant at the time. He was removed from the ministry.
Father Christopher Joseph Springer. Ordained in 1952, Father Springer worked in Texas and Louisiana. He was named in several lawsuits alleging abuse that would have occurred between 1968 and 1980. As many as 30 alleged victims came forward, and some of these cases have been settled. He is also listed on the Corpus Christi diocese list of credibly accused priests.
Priests Accused of Abuse in the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux
The priests listed as credibly accused in the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux are listed below.8
Father Lawrence A. Cavell. Father Cavell was ordained in 1989 and removed from the ministry in 2003 when he was accused of soliciting sex with a minor in the 1980s. He was stripped of his ability to perform priestly duties and listed as credibly accused by the diocese.
Father Alexander Francisco. Originally from the Philippines, Father Francisco joined the diocese in 1991. In 2002, he was placed on leave for admitting to improperly touching a teenager. He was allowed to return to work after treatment and was then suspended again in 2003.
Father Gerard P. Kinane. Ordained in 1973, Father Kinane was placed on leave in 2004 due to allegations that he molested a teen on more than one occasion in the 1970s. Kinane was assigned to St. Mark’s in Chalmette at the time. He has also worked in Pennsylvania and Florida. A Church trial was ordered by the Vatican in 2004, and Kinane responded with a defamation lawsuit in 2005, which was dismissed. He was reported to have died in Florida in 2020.
Father Patrick R. Kujawa. Father Kujawa was ordained in 1995 and sent for treatment in 1999 when he was found to be in possession of child pornography. He was arrested in 2000 and pleaded guilty, receiving a probated sentence. He was arrested again and found guilty, with a mandatory prison sentence. He is due to be released in 2022.
Father Etienne LeBlanc. Father LeBlanc was ordained in 1971 and put on leave in 2007 from his assignment at Annunziata in Houma. He was accused of raping a nine-year-old boy in the early 1990s. A lawsuit and a criminal complaint were filed in 2011. Documents were sealed, and the case settled in 2012. LeBlanc was stripped of his ability to perform priestly duties.
Father Ramon Luce. Ordained in 1995 from the Philippines, Father Luce worked at Holy Savior in Lockport. He voluntarily left the priesthood after credible allegations were made of “serious and unacceptable conduct with minors.”
Father Robert L. Melancon. Father Melancon was ordained in 1962 and charged with raping an 8-year-old boy in 1995. Convicted in 1996, he was sentenced to life without parole. A lawsuit with the diocese paid a settlement to the victim of $800,000. In 1993, the diocese paid another settlement of $30,000. Melancon died in prison in 2018.
Father Carlos Melendez. Originally from El Salvador, Father Melendez is listed as credibly accused in the diocese list of 2019. He worked in the Hispanic ministry within the diocese and was accused of inappropriate physical contact with a child. He was removed from the ministry after pleading guilty to battery of a minor, and he returned to El Salvador.
Father Dac Nguyen. Ordained in 1988, Father Nguyen was assigned to Thanh Gia (Holy Family) in Amelia at some point. He was removed from the ministry after credible allegations were made of “serious and unacceptable conduct with minors.”
Father Daniel Poche. Father Poche was ordained in 1978 and removed from the ministry due to credible allegations of unacceptable conduct with minors. Little is known about the accusations; however, he is named in the diocese list of 2019.
Father Gerald Prinz. Father Prinz was accused of abuse in a 1995 lawsuit regarding incidents that happened in the 1970s. Ordained in 1968, he resigned from the priesthood in 1990. The diocese list of credibly accused priests also notes a 2002 accusation of raping a boy in the 1970s while working at St. Gregory’s and St. Louis.
Father Bernard Schmaltz. In a 1992 lawsuit, Father Schmaltz was accused of abusing a boy on a fishing trip in 1973. The boy reported the incident immediately, and Schmaltz was put on paid leave. In 1995, the lawsuit was dismissed due to statutes of limitations. Notes from the diocese indicate other allegations of abuse in the 1970s. Schmaltz died in 2010.
Priests Accused of Abuse in the Diocese of Lafayette
The list of clergy and priests credibly accused of abuse in the Louisiana diocese of Lafayette is provided here:9
Father Jules M. Arceneaux. Ordained in 1990, Father Arceneaux was placed on leave in 2004 after the FBI seized a church computer for pornography. Charges were never filed, as it could not be proven that minors were the subject of the seized materials. Listed as credibly accused, he remains on leave.
Father Susai Arul. Originally from India, Father Arul was ordained in 1957, resigned in 1988, and died in 2002. He is listed with the Archdiocese of Mobile as credibly accused, as well as the Lafayette diocese. A 2015 lawsuit alleged that he abused a 10-year-old boy in Ville Platte in 1981.
Father Stanley Begnaud. Ordained in 1958, Father Begnaud retired in 1982 and died in 1985. He is listed as credibly accused by the diocese and was named in an insurance case affidavit by Rev. Thomas Doyle as a “known pedophile.”
Father Michael Benedict. Father Benedict was ordained in 1943. He is listed as credibly accused in the 2019 diocese list. Benedict retired in 1979 and died in 1998.
Father Jody P. Blanchard. Father Blanchard was ordained in 1983 and left the Jesuit order in 1994. He worked in California and then in New Orleans from 1989 to 1991. He also worked at Immaculate Conception in Baton Rouge and Strake Jesuit College Prep in Houston. He was listed as credibly accused by the diocese in 2019.
Father J.M. Bourgeois. Father Bourgeois was named in a 2019 lawsuit alleging rape of a seven- to eight-year-old boy at Sacred Heart of Jesus in Ville Platte. The alleged abuse was reported in 2002 during counseling. Ordained in 1924, Bourgeois passed away in 1978.
Deacon Lester Breaux. Deacon Breaux was named in a 1986 lawsuit alleging he molested a boy in 1985 at St. Peter’s in Carencro. Named as credibly accused by the diocese, he resigned in 1984 and died in 1996.
Father Felix David Broussard. Ordained in 1993, Father Broussard was charged in 2016 for possession of child pornography. He worked at St. Bernard School in Breaux Bridge. He pleaded guilty in 2018 and was sentenced to five years in prison.
Deacon Willis Broussard. Deacon Broussard was ordained in 1977 and resigned in 1990. He is listed as credibly accused in the diocese list of 2019.
Father David Anderson Coupar. Father Coupar was ordained in 1980 and resigned in 1994. Few details are available, but he is listed as credibly accused by the diocese as of 2019.
Brother George Curtis. Brother Curtis worked at Iberia Catholic High School from 1970 to 1991. A lawsuit filed alleged that he regularly molested two brothers from 1975 to 1977. The lawsuit was settled in 1992, and Curtis died in 1998.
Father Herbert de Launay. Father Launay was ordained in 1975 and removed from the ministry in 1999. He is named as credibly accused in the diocese list of 2019.
Father John A. de Leeuw. Father de Leeuw was accused in 2011 of sexually abusing a 7-year-old girl from the time she was in third grade until she was in sixth grade. The alleged victim was in her 60s at the time of the report. De Leeuw was ordained in 1944, retired in 1986, and died in 2015.
Father Michael DesJardins. Ordained in 1976, Father DesJardins resigned in 1992. He is named as credibly accused by the diocese in their list of 2019.
Father N. Wilfred DesRosiers. Father DesRosiers was ordained in 1955 and worked in Louisiana and Texas. He retired in 1975 and died in 2012. In 2002, DesRosiers was accused of sexually abusing four minors between 1967 and 1972. Church directories indicate he was also assigned to the Baltimore diocese and spelled his first name Wilfrid.
Brother Rene Dorsey. Brother Dorsey was named in a 1995 lawsuit, along with Father Gregory Mosca, where it was alleged they molested an altar boy from age 10 to age 15 during the 1970s. The diocese agreed to pay for approximately $49,500 of counseling for the alleged victim.
Father Gilbert Dutel. Father Dutel was ordained in 1970 and named in an insurance case affidavit in 1995 as being accused of abusing a boy from ages nine to fourteen in the 1970s. Dutel denied the allegations and remained active, working in elementary and high schools and at St. Edmond in Lafayette.
Father John Anthony Mary Engbers. Father Engbers was ordained in 1949, fled to Holland in 1985, and died in 1989. He was accused of abusing at least nine young girls from the 1950s through the 1970s. Several lawsuits were filed claiming long-term abuse of girls as young as age three. He was removed from the church when he went to Holland. The lawsuits were settled by 1996.
Father Ronald Lane Fontenot. Ordained in 1975, Father Fontenot was named in a civil suit in 1983 and transferred to Spokane as a counselor. He was convicted in 1983 of abusing at least three minors while there. Fontenot was sentenced to one year in jail and two years in treatment. Six lawsuits were filed in Spokane and settled in 1989. A new lawsuit was filed in 2003, and Fontenot died in 2014. He was also known as “Jean-Paul Fontenot.”
Deacon Leonard J. Freyou. Deacon Freyou was ordained in 1977 and died in 2006. He was named by the diocese as credibly accused in 2019.
Father Gilbert Gauthe. One of the most well known of abusive priests, Father Gauthe was ordained in 1971. He was first accused of abuse in 1983 and convicted in 1985 of abusing as many as 39 young children during 1972 through 1983. He pleaded no contest in 1997 to abuse of a three-year-old boy in Texas, and he faced multiple criminal and civil lawsuits. Settlements in the millions were paid to victims. He is reportedly still living in San Leon.
Deacon Shawn Jude Gautreaux. Deacon Gautreaux was ordained in 2020 and placed on leave in 2021 after allegations of sexual abuse of a minor were raised. The incident would have occured many years prior to his ordination. He worked at St. Bernard in Breaux Bridge.
Father Aldeo Gilbert. Father Gilbert is listed as credibly accused by the diocese and was named in court cases that were dismissed based on statutes of limitations. He was ordained in 1943 and died in 2007. The cases alleged sexual abuse of girls in the 1960s and running a cult in Acadia Parish.
Father Michael S. Guidry. Ordained in 1971, Father Guidry was accused in 2018 of abusing a minor several years prior at St. Peter’s. He confessed to sexually assaulting a 16-year-old boy to the sheriff’s office and pleaded guilty in 2019. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison. A lawsuit was settled with the victim in 2021.
Deacon Louis Hanemann. Deacon Hanemann was ordained in 1983 and worked at St. Genevieve’s in Lafayette and with the diocese of Raleigh, North Carolina. He was removed from ministry in 2002 and is listed as credibly accused in the Lafayette diocese list of 2019.
Father Lloyd P. Hebert. Father Hebert was ordained in 1957. In the 1980s, he was named in a lawsuit for allegedly molesting an adolescent in Opelousas. He was not deposed because the defense attorney stipulated to liability in open court. Reportedly suspended by the diocese, Hebert died in 2004 and is listed as credibly accused.
Father L. Michael Herpin. Ordained in 1966, Father Herpin was removed as region vicar and from Sacred Heart in Broussard in 2002. Herpin admitted to engaging in sexual abuse of a minor 30 years earlier, was sent to treatment, and is currently listed as retired.
Father Marshall R. Larriviere. Father Larriviere was named in two lawsuits involving sexual abuse of young girls, allegedly occuring in the 1960s at his Vermilion Parish camp. One was filed in 2003 and consolidated with the second plaintiff. The lawsuits were settled for an unknown amount in 2008. Larriviere died in 2014.
Father Robert Marcel Limoges. Also known as Skipper, Father Limoges was accused in the 1980s of molesting several boys as young as age six. Limoges admitted to some of this behavior and was removed from his assignment. The DA did not press charges, a civil suit was dismissed, and a subsequent appeal was denied. He is listed as credibly accused by the dioceses of Lafayette and Baton Rouge in the 2019 lists.
Father Kenneth Morvant. Father Morvant was ordained in 1961 and accused in 2018 of abusing many young boys beginning in 1971. A lawsuit was filed by 11 alleged survivors claiming that Morvant used alcohol to facilitate his abuse and may have had hundreds of victims. Morvant died in 2003.
Father Steven Parks. Father Parks was reported in 2019 to have been accused in a 2003 lawsuit of abusing a 10-year-old boy. The abuse allegedly continued from 1966 to 1971 at Grand Coteau parish and an Opelousas elementary school. The lawsuit was settled in 2006.
Father Joseph F. Pellettieri. Father Pellettieri (Pelletieri) was ordained in 1965, suspended by the archdiocese in 2002, and died in 2018. He was accused in 2002 of abusing a minor in 1967 while he worked at Notre Dame High School in Crowley, Louisiana. A 2003 lawsuit filed was dismissed on statute of limitations.
Sister Cheryl A. Porte. Sister Porte was accused in 1980 of sexually abusing a 12-year-old girl in 1978. She was transferred to the Belleville, Illinois diocese. In 2002, the Marianite Order acknowledged there was an “inappropriate relationship.” Sister Porte died in 2020.
Father Keith Anthony Potier. Ordained in 1973, Father Potier resigned in 1981 and died in 2009. He is listed as credibly accused by the diocese in 2019.
Father Donald Raymond Pousson. Father Pousson was ordained in 1966, placed on leave in 1994, and died in 2013. He was accused in 2002 of abusing a boy in the 1990s.
Father David Primeaux. Father Primeaux was accused of abusing at least 15 children between 1978 and 1983 while serving in Covington, Milton, and Lafayette. One lawsuit was settled in 2000. Ordained in 1976, Primeaux left the priesthood and died of suicide in 2012.
Father Valerie Pullman. Ordained in 1965, Father Pullman was accused of abusing several boys as young as 12. He worked in Lake Arthur, Elton, Lafayette, and Lake Charles. Pullman left the ministry in 1985, and one lawsuit was settled in 2008. After Pullman died in 2017, another suit was filed in 2021.
Father James W. Queren. Father Queren was accused in 2021 by three men who claim that Queren abused them when they were 10 and 11 years old at Holy Family in Lawtell. Ordained in 1968, Queren died in 1992.
Father Harry Quick. Father Quick was ordained in 1962 and died in 1994. In 2014, sealed documents were opened that revealed he was forced into counseling in 1977 following allegations of child molestation.
Father Mark Richard. Ordained in 1996, Father Richard was arrested in 1997 after being found on a dead end road in a van with a 14-year-old boy. Charges were dropped, and Richard was reportedly placed on leave, suspended, and forced to resign.
Father Richard Rieboldt. Father Rieboldt was ordained in 1975 and removed from the ministry in 1989. He is listed as credibly accused on the diocese list of 2019.
Father Robie Robichaux. A prominent official in the diocese, Father Robichaux was ordained in 1976 and suspended in 2018. He was accused of sexually abusing a girl starting at age 16, from 1979 to 1981. The alleged victim reported the abuse several times, and a second accuser came forward. Investigation was ongoing as of 2019, and an appeal for Robichaux was denied by the Vatican.
Father Jody J. Simoneaux. Father Simoneaux was ordained in 1982 and placed on leave in 2018 following accusations of improper behavior with minors 30 years prior. The incidents would have occured while Simoneaux worked in Eunice and Youngsville. It is still under investigation.
Father Gerard C. Smit. Father Smit was ordained in the Netherlands in 1950 and worked in the Lafayette diocese by 1957. Reports were made to police and the bishop as early as 1982 that Smit abused boys and girls in the 1960s and 1970s. Smit was removed from the ministry and was denied all contact with minors in 2011. New complaints were raised to police as recently as 2015. Sentenced to a life of prayer and penance in 2013, Smit resides in Pennsylvania.
Father Jean Toussaint. Father Toussaint was ordained in 1934 and died in 1977. He is named as credibly accused in the diocese list of 2019.
Father Adrian Walter Van Hal. Father Van Hal was ordained in 1937 and is included in the diocese list of credibly accused priests published 2019. Van Hal died in 1970.
Father Cornelius Van Merrianboer. Ordained in 1924, Father Van Merrianboer resigned in 1933 and died in 1960. He is listed as credibly accused by the diocese as of 2019.
Father Rosaire Veilleux. Father Veilleux was publicly named as accused by the diocese in 2019. He was ordained in 1958, resigned in 1973, and died in 1986.
Father Charles J. Zaunbrecher. Father Zaunbrecher was named in a 2002 article of molesting children. He was ordained in 1957 and died in 1996. He served at the Church of the Little Flower in Mobile, Alabama and returned to Lafayette in 1995 when he retired.
Priests Accused of Abuse in the Diocese of Lake Charles
There are six Catholic clergy members listed as credibly accused of abuse in the Diocese of Lake Charles.10
Father Juan Alers. Originally from Puerto Rico, Father Alers was ordained in 1969 and affiliated with the diocese beginning in 1987. He was credibly accused of sexual misconduct with minors in the 1980s while in Puerto Rico. Alers was removed from ministry in 2002 and died in 2011.
Father Mark A. Broussard. Father Broussard was ordained in 1986 and arrested in 2012, charged with two counts of rape and 52 counts of sexual battery against victims as young as eight years old. He was found guilty in 2016 and sentenced to two life terms, plus 50 years. His appeal was denied in 2017.
Father Richard J. Chachere. Ordained in 1965, Father Chachere was accused in 2009 of abusing children at Lady Queen of Heaven School in 1964. He resigned in 1978 and died in 2012. He was named in the 2019 diocese list of the credibly accused.
Father Gregory Mosca. Father Mosca was named in a 1995 lawsuit along with Br. Rene Dorsey, alleging that both molested an alter boy for five years in the 1970s. Multiple credible accusations of abuse were received by the diocese, allegedly occuring at St. Henry in Lake Charles and Houston. Mosca was removed from ministry in 1986 and died in 2018.
Brother Edmund Normantowicz. Brother Normantowicz served as a deacon in St. Louis and Lake Charles. He was listed as credibly accused of sexually abusing minors from 1976 to 1980, which was reported in 2003 and 2019. In some records his name is misspelled as Edward Normantowiz. He is reported to be living in Hartford, Connecticut.
Father Charles Soileau. Father Soileau was ordained in 1957, removed from the ministry in 1999, and died in 2011. He was credibly accused in 1999 of sexually abusing a minor in 1995 while in Houston, Texas and Vinton, Louisiana.
Priests Accused of Abuse in the Diocese of Shreveport
At present, there is only one credibly accused priest listed in the Diocese of Shreveport.11
Father Seby Shan Chemmanpallil. Father Chemmanpallil was originally from India and removed from the ministry in May of 2021. He was an associate priest at Christ the King Church and faces criminal charges for possessing and distributing child pornography, as well as sexual abuse of animals.
Louisiana Priest Abuse FAQs
For every survivor that comes forward, there may be many more victims who remain silent. Learning more about child sexual abuse and the legal rights of victims may help those affected find closure and guidance. Research into this issue reveals:12
- Most victims (66.7%) of clergy abuse are under the age of 14 when they are abused.
- Most cases (80%) involve “hands-on” abuse with bodily contact.
- Victims suffer from serious health issues and social functioning challenges.
- Survivors most frequently report mistrust, depression, anxiety, sexual problems, and discomfort with being touched.
Resources for Victims of Priest Abuse in Louisiana
As a survivor of sexual abuse and trauma, it can be difficult to recognize the long-term effects you suffer, and you may not feel able to report what happened until you are well into adulthood. Reaching out for help can be an empowering and healing step, whether or not you choose to take legal action.
You can start by:
- If you are aware of ongoing abuse or anyone is in danger, calling 911 for help
- Calling the Louisiana statewide hotline to access counseling and legal resources at 1-888-411-1333
- Reporting the incident to the LA Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) on their hotline at 1-855-452-5437
- Contacting the applicable diocese and making a written report for the official record
- Reporting the crime to law enforcement
- Seeking confidential and compassionate legal advice
Seek Trusted Experts Who Fight for Victims
Experienced legal teams who focus on cases like these can help you find all the resources available and decide if a legal action is the right choice in your case. From the moment you start working with an attorney you trust, you will not face the system, the church, or your abuser alone.
At Saunders & Walker P.A., we have three decades of courtroom experience and a compassionate team ready to help you or a loved one move forward and overcome past trauma. You can consult with a confidential consultation and trust in the attorney client relationship while you openly review your legal options.
There is no fee unless we win a settlement or court-ordered compensation for you. With the highest legal rating available from Martindale-Hubbell, you can trust in our experience, competence, and ethics in all aspects of your experience. Contact us today to empower yourself with legal representation and guidance.