The images of child pornography that led to the arrest of a Breaux Bridge priest were discovered - and reported - by a computer technician.
Lafayette Bishop J. Douglas Deshotel held a press conference Wednesday afternoon to release the information the diocese has about the incident. The Diocese wants to be transparent and provide the public with all information it has as it receives it, he said.
The priest, F. David Broussard, has been relieved of his position at St. Bernard Church in Breaux Bridge, which includes oversight of a school there. Deshotel says there has never been a complaint against Broussard of any kind, only compliments.
"He was, the irony is, a very well-loved pastor in his parish," Deshotel said.
Deshotel said the computer in question, which allegedly contained more than 500 images of child pornography, was brought to a repair shop. The technician working on it found the images, and as is required, called the police.
Deshotel said he learned of the investigation yesterday, when State Police came to talk to him about it. He said as soon as he learned that Broussard had been arrested he issued a press release and called the press conference.
"Child pornography is a plague, and it runs the gamut of all strata of society, and it's something that has to be addressed right at the beginning, as soon as it is known," the Bishop said. "That is why I was happy to cooperate with the police when they came to see me, for the protection of young innocent people."
Deshotel said there is no set procedure the Diocese uses, other than using "common sense."
"Transparency, informing the public, having a press conference, taking immediate action," he said. "All of those are lessons that we and other institutions have learned over the rules, this is how this should be addressed. that s the modus operandi we use. As soon as we knew something happened we wanted the word to get out to the priests of our diocese and to you the media."
Deshotel said he has not discussed the charges with Broussard.
"I haven't spoken with him, but I suspect I will soon," Deshotel said. "As his spiritual father, I have an obligation to care for his spiritual needs."
Investigators from the Louisiana State Police Bureau of Investigations - Special Victims Unit arrested a Catholic Priest in St. Martin Parish today.
In July 2016, police say they received a complaint alleging that a computer for Father Felix David Broussard, 50, contained images indicative of child pornography. During the course of the investigation, more than 500 images of child pornography were identified on the computer. Investigators obtained an arrest warrant, and Broussard was placed under arrest and booked into the St. Martin Parish jail on charges of pornography involving juveniles (500 counts).
The Diocese of Lafayette will hold a press conference on this issue at 2 p.m. We will be live streaming the press conference. To watch it, click here.
The Louisiana State Police worked closely with the Diocese of Lafayette during the course of this investigation.
The Diocese of Lafayette has issued the following statement regarding the arrest this week of a Breaux Bridge priest on charges of child pornography possession,
Here is the full text of the statement:
"The Diocese of Lafayette was informed and saddened to learn on July 27th that the Louisiana State Police arrested the Reverend F. David Broussard on charges of possessing child pornography. The Diocese takes these allegations very seriously and is cooperating fully in every way possible with the investigation. Bishop J. Douglas Deshotel, on learning of the allegations, immediately placed Father Broussard on administrative leave from active priestly ministry. The Bishop and staff are providing pastoral care to the congregation of Saint Bernard Parish in Breaux Bridge, and will preach at all Masses at Saint Bernard Parish this weekend. The prayers of the diocesan community are requested."
According to the church's website, Broussard was born in Crowley; he graduated from Notre Dame High School in Crowley then attended St. Joseph Seminary College in Covington and Mount Saint Mary's Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland. He was ordained for the Diocese of Lafayette on June 12, 1993. His pastoral assignments include Parochial Vicar of St. Mary Magdalen in Abbeville (1995), Pastor of Our Lady of Mercy in Opelousas (1997-1999), St. Joseph/St. Michael in Iota/Egan (2000-2004), Our Lady of the Holy Rosary/St. Francis Cabrini in Kaplan (2006-2008), and St. Joseph/St. Jules in Evangeline/Petit Mamou.