Bishop: "Child Pornography Is a Plague"
By Dominick Cross
July 28, 2016
|The Rev. Felix David Broussard is behind bars for the alleged possession of child pornography. KLFY|
A Breaux Bridge priest accused of possessing child pornography was held in high regard in the parish, according to Bishop J. Douglas Deshotel, of the Diocese of Lafayette.
The Rev. F. David Broussard, pastor of St. Bernard Roman Catholic Church in Breaux Bridge for the past two years, was arrested Wednesday by Louisiana State Police on 500 counts of possession of child pornography.
Broussard also is the chancellor of St. Bernard School in Breaux Bridge.
“As we know, in our society, child pornography is a plague,” Deshotel said. “It runs the gamut of all strata of society.”
Deshotel spoke at a news conference Wednesday regarding charges that Broussard possessed child pornography on his personal computer.
“It’s something that has to be addressed right at the beginning as soon as it’s known,” he said. “Which is why I was happy to cooperate with the state officials in dealing with that for the protection of young and innocent people.”
Transparency, informing the public and taking immediate action once something is known “are lessons that we and other institutions, public schools, the Boy Scouts — all of those have learned over the years that this is how this is addressed,” Deshotel said. “So that’s the modus operandi we use.”
PRIESTS: Abusive priests' names won't be revealed
Deshotel said Broussard is presumed innocent until proven otherwise. Because of the serious nature of the charge, however, he was immediately placed on administrative leave until the case is fully investigated.
“If he’s guilty, he needs to follow the penalties of the state for what was done,” Deshotel said. “Then there are also ecclesiastical steps, church steps, that have to be taken with regard to his future ministry, and, whether or not that’s possible.”
Broussard has not been accused of physically abusing children, Deshotel said.
However, the bishop said, “there’s no difference. I consider child pornography child abuse because it is abusing the innocent children.”
|F. David Broussard (Photo: Louisiana State Police)|
Deshotel said parish personnel are aware of what’s expected of them and what’s not tolerated.
“The priests undergo yearly updates on safe environment in which internet protocols are gone over with them, what’s legal; what’s not legal,” he said. “Also, what’s professional on church property and all of those things.
“Everyone knows; it’s not a secret to anybody,” he said. “No one can say, 'I am surprised that this is the wrong thing to do.'”