At first glance, Lake Charles Bishop Glen Provost looks a bit more forthcoming than his colleagues regarding child sexual abuse in his diocese. But be careful with first impressions, as they can be wrong. On the diocesan website, on his ‘credibly accused’ list, Provost offers more categories of information than most bishops do. They include accusation, location of misconduct, date of misconduct, when the diocese received the allegation, number of victims, the response from the diocese, and current status. These observations produced some interesting facts. It turns out that all but two Lake Charles predator priests, for instance, had more than one victim. They are Fr. Richard Chachere and Fr. Charles Soileau. At least four of them are still alive (including Fr. Edmund or Edward Normantowicz and Fr. Kenneth Guillory.) But with some of the proven, admitted, or credibly accused child molesting clerics in this small Louisiana diocese, Bishop Provost refuses to use the categories he set up.
For example: For Fr. J. Patrick Walsh, Prevost provides no information on the number of victims or location of the misconduct. The same goes for Fr. Austin N. Park and Fr. Louis Perrault. The Lake Charles bishop also leaves several categories blank for all three men. For example, we’re told nothing about the accusation, location of misconduct, date of misconduct, when the diocese received the allegation, number of victims, the response from the diocese, or current status. Though troubling, these omissions may be, aren’t the worst aspects of Prevost’s ‘credibly accused’ list.
It seems he’s being pretty deceitful about at least one key piece of information: “when the diocese received the allegation.” Consider this damning revelation by a local newspaper, The Advocate:
“Church officials learned of the abuses of two priests years before the dates shown on the new list, records show. The discrepancies conceal periods in which the bishop at that time, Jude Speyrer, and others were aware of allegations and helped abusers continue their pastoral careers.”
One is Fr. Gerard or Gerald Smit: The diocese’s list says it first received allegations against Smit in 2002, making no mention of the allegations Speyrer received 16 years earlier.” Fr. Smit “did not deny” the accusations. The other is Fr. Mark A. Broussard: In 1988, Broussard was treated (at a church-run facility) in New Mexico (and) Broussard has said repeatedly that he admitted his abuses to diocesan officials. However, the new diocesan list says church officials first received allegations against Broussard in 1994, six years later. In fact, Lake Charles church officials quietly sent Fr. Smit, after ‘treatment,’ to work in Elkton, Delaware, in the Diocese of Wilmington. According to BishopAccountability.org, Fr. Smit’s last known address was in the small town of Bear, Delaware. Lake Charles diocese says he now lives in Pennsylvania. No matter where he is now, it’s pretty clear that Prevost has been less than honest about Fr. Smit and Fr. Broussard. The obvious question is now; if the bishop is being dishonest about two of his child molesting clerics, how can we trust his details about the other predators on his ‘credibly accused’ list?
Here are those clerics:
- Fr. Juan Alers
- Fr. Mark A. Broussard
- Fr. J. Richard Chachere
- Fr. Gregory Mosca
- Fr. Edmund (Edward) Normantowicz
- Fr. Gerard (Gerald) Smit
- Fr. Charles Soileau
- Fr. J. Richard Walsh
- Fr. Kenneth Guillory
- Fr. Brennan Harris
- Fr. Austin N. Park
- Fr. Louis Perrault
- Fr. Valerie Pullman
As always, it appears that this list is incomplete. In 2014, a newspaper disclosed that a previously ‘under the radar’ Lafayette predator priest had worked and was still living in Lake Charles. While Fr. Pullman, originally of the Lafayette diocese, is now on the Lake Charles list, his presence in Lake Charles was kept secret by local church officials until a 2014 newspaper revealed that he was living in Jennings. He was sued for molesting a child, and the case was settled. One has to ask: how many other once dangerous and potentially dangerous brothers, monks, seminarians, deacons, and priests should be – but are not – on Prevost’s list? Lake Charles predator priests, like their colleagues elsewhere, have been moved around a lot.
Credibly accused Lake Charles clerics live or lived and/or work or worked in Puerto Rico, in at least two countries (Holland and India), and in at least nine states (South Carolina, Alabama, Florida, California, Wisconsin, Indiana, New Mexico, Connecticut, and Texas). They also were in or are in these Louisiana towns: Jennings Oakdale, Lake Charles, Grand Chenier, Iota, Youngsville, Bosco, Chataignier, Cankton, Iowa, New Iberia, Erath, Hathaway, Vinton, Lake Arthur, Sulphur, Kinder, Egan, South Lake Charles, Milton, Le Blanc, Grand Coteau, Lacassine, Chloe, Shreveport, New Orleans. And one or more of them belong to or belonged to these religious orders: Benedictines, LaSalette Missionaries, Salesians, Holy Ghost Fathers, Jesuits, and Franciscans. Apparently, only two of them were sent to prison, Fr. Simon Palathingal in Wisconsin in 2014 and Fr. Mark A. Broussard in 2016.
We at Horowitz Law hope that Prevost and every US Catholic official will quickly work to flesh out his list of predators. And we hope that every person who saw, suspected, or suffered child sex crimes and cover-ups in the Lake Charles diocese reports to law enforcement learns their legal options and achieves healing and closure.
Horowitz Law represents victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Lake Charles in Louisiana. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Louisiana, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Lake Charles may now have legal options, but filing deadlines will apply, so do not delay in reaching out to us. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in Louisiana and nationwide. We can help. Contact us at 844-291-9022 to discuss your options today.