Ex-Calcasieu Parish priest facing child-molestation charges

Former Priest Arrested

CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) - A former priest of Calcasieu Parish was charged with two counts of aggravated rape and 52 counts of sexual battery.

Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office, with help from Louisiana State Police, arrested 56-year-old Mark Broussard, former priest of St. Henry's Catholic Church in Lake Charles, on Thursday, March 22 accused for inappropriate behavior with an 8-year-old between the years of 1986 and 1989.

Almost 25 years later, the victim, now 34-years-old, came forward by sending a letter to the Diocese of Lake Charles in December 2011 disclosing the priest had molested him.

"Based on records we obtained from the church, from the victim and through our investigation, we were able to obtain a warrant," Sheriff Tony Mancuso said.

Broussard left St. Henry in 1992 and relocated to St. Eugene Catholic Church in Grand Chenier, where he resigned from the priesthood in 1994.

Mancuso said the investigation revealed Broussard had sexual contact with at least four other male children. Those incidents, although not in Calcasieu Parish according to Calcasieu Parish District Attorney John DeRosier, were not reported to law enforcement.

DeRosier said it didn't become mandatory for an entity like the clergy to report such instances to law enforcement. But since then, the laws have changed making it mandatory for crimes like this to be reported to law enforcement.

"There were basically two events where items were reported to the church," DeRosier said. "This current case with Mr. Broussard was actually not reported to the church until 2011. And then they immediately notified us."

A statement from the Diocese of Lake Charles said:

"In December 2011, the Diocese of Lake Charles received credible allegations regarding the activities of the ex-priest, Mark A. Broussard, and immediately reported the allegations to the District Attorney and Sheriff. The Diocese of Lake Charles has and will continue to cooperate fully with all civil authorities. In light of the ongoing proceedings, the Diocese will have no further comment on this matter."

But since the church knew about the other alleged molestation cases, Mancuso said they have no evidence of it being a cover-up at this time.

"They were the ones that brought it to our attention when it was brought to their attention," Mancuso said. "It was a long time ago and the powers that be that were in charge at that time are no longer in charge at this time, so we have no evidence that this was a cover-up."

DeRosier said law enforcement doesn't always find out about these types of cases because victims don't always speak up.

"Sometimes victims are very reluctant to come forward and it is very important that victims do come forward if they are subjected to any kind of molestation," DeRosier said.

Judge David Ritchie set Broussard's bond at $1,020,000.

DeRosier said the case will now go to the Grand Jury and depending on what the Grand Jury finds will dictate the course of the case.

Copyright 2012 KPLC. All rights reserved.