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  Jesuit Priest Relieved of Duties
Abuse of Minor 30 Years Ago Alleged

By Bruce Nolan
Times-Picayune [New Orleans LA]
January 5, 2005

A priest and faculty member at Jesuit High School has been relieved of ministry on a credible charge that he sexually abused a minor years ago, his religious order said Tuesday.

The Rev. Claude Boudreaux, 80, a Latin teacher at Jesuit, was relieved after his order received an allegation from an unnamed person about a month ago, said the Rev. Paul Deutsch, a spokesman for the New Orleans Province of the Society of Jesus -- the Jesuits. The incident did not involve a Jesuit High student, a school spokesman said.

An internal investigation convinced the Rev. Fred Kammer, the order's provincial, or local superior, that the claim was credible, Deutsch said. An advisory board dominated by lay members also reviewed the allegation, Deutsch said.

Boudreaux has been transferred out of New Orleans "for extended medical treatment" at an undisclosed location, Deutsch said. He would not disclose the reason for the treatment.

Deutsch declined to say directly whether Boudreaux denied the allegation. "He is cooperating with the provincial in this matter. To answer more would move into his area of privacy," Deutsch said.

Deutsch said the complaint involved a single act "arising over three decades ago." He said the accuser asked two things: that Boudreaux be removed from ministry and the order protect the accuser's identity.

That extended even to keeping silent about where or when the alleged abuse occurred, Deutsch said.

However, "We can say it did not involve a student at Jesuit High School," where Boudreaux has taught for 25 years, said Jesuit Development Director Pierre DeGruy.

Boudreaux most recently taught Latin at Jesuit, but also has taught French and Spanish. In recent years he was active in CODOFIL, the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana and in the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic men's organization. He also led privately organized tours to Europe.

In 49 years as a priest, Boudreaux served as a missionary in Sri Lanka and India. He also worked at the order's headquarters in Rome, worked in ministry to other Jesuits in Mobile and New Orleans, and taught at Jesuit high schools in Dallas and Shreveport, Deutsch said.

The order has shared the complaint about Boudreaux with several of those institutions, Deutsch said. Asked whether the order contacted criminal authorities in other cities, Deutsch said he provided the accuser, now an adult, with the phone number of child protection services in the community where the incident happened.

Under rules the Catholic Church developed in 2002, priests who commit a single act of sexual abuse involving a minor must be permanently relieved of their priesthood if the accusation is ultimately confirmed in a church court or by other means.

Contested allegations involving diocesan, or parish priests may be finally judged in some church proceeding. But religious orders are governed differently and it is still not clear whether Boudreaux will face any kind of formal judicial hearing, Deutsch said.

"When (Boudreaux) finishes his medical treatment, the provincial will assign him a community to live without access to minors," Deutsch said.

Archbishop Alfred Hughes said through a spokeswoman he concurred with Kammer's decision. Acting under his authority as archbishop he also withdrew Boudreaux's privileges to say Mass or function as a priest in the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

 
 

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