11 alleged sex abuse victims file lawsuit against Diocese of Lafayette
By Lester Duhé
September 19, 2018
An alleged sexual abuse victim and 10 others have filed a lawsuit against the Diocese of Lafayette and Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church.
The Petition of Damages states that more than 40 years ago, the late Father Kenneth Morvant abused Doug Bienvenu and other altar boys, by allegedly giving them alcohol and using the 'Power of God' to prey upon them.
This new lawsuit was just filed last Friday.
Bienvenu tells News 10 that 2 years ago he already filed 3 motions in Washington D.C., but 2 were thrown out because they said it was the wrong venue.
Now Bienvenu is hoping that the Diocese will release the list of names of other priests accused of sexual abuse in the Diocese, so what happened to him will never happen to anyone else.
"Every night he'd (Fr. Morvant) pick somebody different, but most nights it was my night. And he'd crawl in bed with us once we were sleeping when we were drunk, and he'd fondle us all night," said Doug Bienvenu, an alleged victim.
He says that over 40 years ago beginning at the age of 8, he along with other altar boys were sexually abused by the late Father Kenneth Morvant of St. Martin de Tours Catholic Church, who's grave is on holy grounds.
"This was God to us these priests, you know. If we would've told our parents that, you think they would've believed us in those days? Of course not," said Bienvenu.
The lawsuit was filed by Bienvenu along with 10 other John Doe's suing the Diocese of Lafayette and the Church for damages.
"We don't want to be tapped on the hand and say, 'Oh we'll get it straight.' What about what we went through? We can't have a second chance in life. We lived with this for 40 something years, and they (Diocese of Lafayette) need to own up to it and quit lying and hiding it," said Bienvenu.
"I want to express my profound sorrow and pledge of support, to anyone who may have suffered any kind of abuse by anyone in the church," said Diocese of Lafayette Bishop Douglas Deshotel via Facebook.
He has recently stated that there is no evidence of Father Morvant being implicated in the abuse of minors.
And now a billboard at the corner of Ambassador and Johnston, is calling on the Bishop to release the names of priests in the Diocese accused of abuse.
"What's your message for Bishop Deshotel?," asked Lester Duhe'.
"Why don't he just own up, it wasn't his fault it happened. And why don't he just clear up all these allegations and just tell the truth, release the list, and it is what it is," said Bienvenu.
"Do you think that there are possibly more victims out there?," asked Lester Duhe'.
"God yes. I guarantee it's in the hundreds, and you got to respect that just hearing about this, it felt good that I wasn't alone, but at the same time it was damaging to me to realize how many there really are out there," said Bienvenu.
He tells News 10 that there were 45 known victims of Father Morvant, but there's only 11 in the lawsuit.
Bienvenu also stated that his brother and his cousin were also abused by Father Morvant, and they committed suicide because of the lasting effects of the abuse years ago.
He says he would like the Attorney General's Office to investigate all the alleged sexual abuse in the Diocese, like they did in Pennsylvania.
The day after Bienvenu first spoke out about the lawsuit weeks ago, the Diocese released a statement saying, "There is no evidence of Father Morvant being implicated in the abuse of minors. These allegations, however, are being given appropriate consideration. Father Kenneth Morvant, though deceased, maintains the presumption of innocence unless proven otherwise."