|Statement of Bishop Robert Muench Regarding Father Thomas Duhé 02-12-11
Roman Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouger
February 13, 2011
In April 2010, the Diocesan Office of Child and Youth Protection received an allegation from an
adult man concerning improper sexual advances made against him by Father Thomas Duhé over a decade before. At that time the man was an adolescent. Upon receiving notification from the Office of Child and Youth Protection, and in compliance with the policy of the Diocese of Baton Rouge concerning such matters, a pastoral team of three persons (a psychologist, a social worker and the diocesan victims' assistance coordinator) was formed to review the charge. This team recommended the matter be further investigated. The District Attorney of East Baton Rouge was notified of the allegation made.
At that time, I held a news conference concerning these events and placed Father Duhé on a
leave of absence, pending this fuller investigation. I asked for anyone with information about this
or any other such case to report it to the diocese. This matter received wide coverage in the
media and through the Internet. I also visited the two most recent church parishes where Father
Duhé had served as pastor (St. Thomas More, Baton Rouge, and St. Alphonsus, Greenwell
Springs), informing the parishioners of these developments, asking for prayers for all involved,
and seeking any pertinent information concerning this case.
An investigative team of five people – a psychologist, a social worker/attorney, an attorney, a
former FBI agent, and a former government agency worker – was organized. The team
interviewed separately both the accuser and Father Duhé, and gathered all available information.
This team reported its findings to the Diocese of Baton Rouge Independent Review Board. This
board, formed in 2002, consists of ten appointed members: a nurse-administrator, a pediatrician, a former warden, a former judge, a former law enforcement officer, two social workers, two attorneys and a priest, and two ex-officio members: a canon lawyer and a civil attorney. The Review Board also interviewed individually both the accuser and the priest accused. After careful deliberation, the board concluded it could find no sufficient evidence, direct or indirect, prime facie or otherwise corroborated, that substantiated the claim of the accuser. The board forwarded its findings and recommendation to me. Subsequently I met personally with the board to ascertain the process used and reasoning for the conclusion it reached.
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