Former West Monroe Priest Accused of Child Molestation
October 24, 2014
The Diocese of Shreveport issued this statement about former Pastor Charles Potocki.
The Diocese of Shreveport only today became aware of substantiated claims of sexual abuse brought against Rev. Charles Potocki, a Franciscan Priest of the Sacred Heart Province who was assigned to St. Paschal Church in West Monroe from 1983 through 1990. We are not aware of any accusations or claims of abuse, past or present, that were made while Father Potocki served as pastor of St. Paschal Parish. The Diocese will continue to investigate this matter to be sure our present understanding of the facts are correct.
Commenting on the matter Bishop Michael G. Duca released the following statement:
“I am not aware of any accusations of abuse against the late Fr. Potocki during his time in North Louisiana. Even though it is my understanding that the substantiated claim of child abuse occurred elsewhere we will continue to investigate this matter and will announce this new information concerning Father Charles Potocki at St. Paschal Church at all Masses this Sunday. Commenting further, Bishop Duca offered “This is a painful part of our history which we must face head on with a first concern for anyone who may have been victimized. The Diocese of Shreveport intends to remain vigilant and transparent in our mission to keep our parishioners, especially our children and vulnerable adults, safe from any criminal behavior or abuse.”
Bishop Duca also reminded, “We will continue to support our Safe Environment Program in every parish which provides a proactive plan to create a safe environment within our parish communities and schools. Revelations of this nature only compel us to continue our good work in providing the very best in ministry for our youth and young adults.”
West Monroe -- A former West Monroe priest is accused child molestation.
According to the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, Pastor Charles Potocki is one of several priest with "substantiated claims against them of sexually abusing a minor while they were assigned as priests."
The group SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, says the claims made by the Archdiocese from Minnesota indicates serious abuse.
"Church officials don't suddenly or irresponsibly yank priest from ministry every time they are accused of anything. They don't kick them out of ministry. They don't use phrases like 'substantiated claim of abuse' unless they are pretty darn sure this priest has done some serious, serious harm," says David Clohessy, executive director of SNAP.
Potocki served as pastor at St. Paschal’s Catholic Church in West Monroe.
According to the release, Potocki also reportedly worked in Minnesota and Nebraska.
Potocki died in 1992.
SNAP says Potocki's death means he can no longer hurt anyone else or be prosecuted. Still, they say healing happens when victims come forward.
"We beg anyone, who was hurt by this priest or any other church official, to share their secrets with someone they trust," says Clohessy.
The group SNAP also released a statement.