Diocese of Lake Charles releases list of credibly accused clergy

Updated: Apr. 11, 2019 at 2:15 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The Diocese of Lake Charles has released a list of clergy against whom they have found credible accusations of sexual misconduct with a minor.

The list contains the names of a dozen people, eleven of whom were priests. One was a religious called a brother. Of the priests, eight are dead.

The others include Mark Broussard who is in prison serving two life sentences plus fifty years for sexually abusing children. Broussard is the former Catholic priest convicted of molesting and raping altar boys in Calcasieu Parish in the 1980s and 1990s. A jury found Broussard guilty in 2016.

Also on the list is Simon Palathingal who served at our Lady Queen of Heaven. At last word, he was incarcerated in Wisconsin.

And there’s Gerard Smit who is in his nineties and, according to the diocese, sentenced to “a life of prayer and penance since 2013” and resides in Pennsylvania.

Bishop Glen John Provost released a letter saying his heart is heavy, realizing that each detail represents serious harm done to an innocent victim. Provost spoke of concern for the victims in a video statement provided.

“I am grateful to the victims who had the courage to come forward and report their abuse. My heart is heavy as I realize the serious harm done to innocent victims, and the breaking of sacred trust between clergy and faithful,” said Provost.

And the bishop apologizes.

“From the depth of my heart, I am sorry. These are horrors that have no place in the church and our society.” said Provost.

Before releasing the names, he says the archives were opened to a review board with a retired judge, retired sheriff and an attorney tasked with compiling the list. In the bishop’s words, that was to insure transparency.

“I have chosen to publish a list of clergy against whom credible allegations of sexual misconduct with a minor have been made,” he said.

Also, the bishop reaffirmed the diocese’s intent to always fully cooperate with civil authorities and he encouraged reporting of abuse.

“I encourage anyone with knowledge to come forward to both civil and diocesean authorities,” he said.

The bishop says to the best of his knowledge the diocese has acted upon every report received.

You can find the list HERE.

Bishop Glen Provost released this statement in regards to the accused:

My dear Faithful of the Diocese of Lake Charles,

With this letter, I am publishing the list of clergy who have served in the Diocese of Lake Charles since its establishment in 1980 and against whom credible accusations of sexual misconduct with a minor have been made. In doing so, my heart is heavy as I realize that each detail represents serious harm done to an innocent victim and the breaking of a sacred trust between clergy and laity. As I have stated numerous times before but wish to repeat again, our concern remains for the victims of sexual abuse. We encourage anyone aware of such abuse to make it known to the civil authorities and our Victims Assistance Coordinator or the Vicar General of the Diocese (337-439-7400). We have reached out to the victims in the past and will continue to do so in the future. A prefatory comment on the list is needed. First, because until 1980 the five civil parishes of the Diocese of Lake Charles were part of the Diocese of Lafayette and under the supervision of ecclesiastical authorities in Lafayette, any allegation received by the Diocese of Lake Charles regarding conduct prior to 1980 was referred to the Diocese of Lafayette. Because of this, there may be overlapping of this list and any list issued by the Diocese of Lafayette. Second, the standard operating procedure of the Diocese of Lake Charles has been to keep current with its obligations under the law to address each such report. The Diocese of Lake Charles cooperates fully with the civil authorities and have remained in regular correspondence with them in matters dealing with criminality. Third, since the issuance of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People in 2002, the Diocese of Lake Charles has followed the mandated protocols for reporting to civil authorities and addressing allegations. Fourth, to insure transparency our files and archives were opened to an ad hoc Review Board comprised of a retired judge, a retired sheriff, and an attorney who were tasked with compiling a list. Applicable law determined inclusion on the list. The ad hoc Review Board was provided resources necessary to complete their work, including consultation with a canon lawyer. The ad hoc Review Board forwarded their findings to me. I have adopted their list for publication. I wish to express my sincere appreciation to them all for their difficult work, expertise, and dedicated service. As noted in the report of the ad hoc Review Board and confirmed by my own investigation, I can state that there is no one in ministry in the Diocese of Lake Charles against whom any complaint of sexual misconduct with a minor exists today. May the victims of sexual abuse receive healing to bring them peace of mind and tranquility of soul. May our Heavenly Father have mercy on us. May He also guide us through a deeper appreciation for the chastity and purity that should govern our lives.

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