Lafayette Priest Arrested on Indecent Behavior Count

By Calvin Lear
The Advocate (Baton Rouge, Louisiana)
January 14, 1997

LAFAYETTE — A Catholic priest was arrested for indecent behavior with a juvenile after he was discovered parked in his car on a dead-end street with a 14-year-old boy shortly after 1 a.m. Monday, authorities said.

The Rev. Mark Richard, 29, 401 S. Adams St., Rayne, was booked into the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center and released on $ 15,000


Richard is associate pastor at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Rayne, Lafayette diocesan officials said.

Bishop Edward O'Donnell placed Richard on administrative leave, according to a statement O'Donnell released to the media.

"In accordance with our policies and the law of the church, he has been placed on administrative leave and will not exercise his priestly ministry or remain in his residence or any other rectory or

any other church facility," O'Donnell said.

O'Donnell said the diocese would conduct an investigation and would cooperate with the sheriff's investigation into the alleged


"Our first action in any situation like this is to offer assistance to any possible victims," O'Donnell said. "I have already

contacted the family involved. "

He said he was also concerned about Richard, and that "he is due the protection of the law before being judged. "

He said he knew few details surrounding the alleged incident, but that he "will respond personally when more facts are available. "

A Lafayette Parish deputy sheriff spotted Richard's maroon Honda at 1:03 a.m. parked at the dead end of Hapsburg Lane, located between Lafayette and Maurice off of U.S. 167, sheriff's authorities said.

Richard and the teen-ager were in the front seat, authorities said.

When Richard noticed the deputy, he got out of the Honda and told the deputy that the boy was "having problems and needed to talk," authorities said.

However, the deputy saw that Richard's clothes were in disarray, and he had no shoes on, the authorities said.

Early reports were that the juvenile involved was 14. However, Bob Wright, an attorney for the diocese, said church officials told him the teen-ager is 17.


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