Boyce Priest Faced Probe in 1998 Claim

By Mandy Goodnight
Daily Town Talk
April 20, 2002

A Boyce priest under investigation for alleged sexual abuse against a teen-ager was accused in 1998 of fondling a Natchitoches boy.

Natchitoches Parish sheriff's investigators confirmed Friday that they had investigated a complaint levied against the Rev. John Andries, 47.

But no charges were brought against the priest at the request of the victim's family.

Andries has been suspended from his ministry at St. Margaret Catholic Church in Boyce amidst the latest allegation of misconduct.

The Lafayette Parish District Attorney's Office is investigating a June incident in Abbeville involving Andries and a teen-age boy.

In a media conference Thursday, Bishop Sam Jacobs of the Catholic Diocese of Alexandria acknowledged that Andries was removed as a priest in Natchitoches Parish. But, he did not go into any details of the previous allegation.

The diocese attorney, Albin Provosty, said the Natchitoches incident did not involve sexual molestation. Sheriff's Chief Investigator Travis Trammel confirmed Friday that the complaint was a case of fondling, not molestation. He said it was filed in December 1998 by the youth's parents.

At the time, Andries had duties at three churches in Natchitoches Parish. He was serving at Nativity Catholic Church in Campti, Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Black Lake and St. Joseph Catholic Church in the Clarence area.

Trammel said the alleged incident occurred at the rectory of one of the churches.

It is believed the boy and the priest met each other through the church, and Andries befriended the juvenile.

The investigation was turned over to the Natchitoches Parish District Attorney's Office.

Charges were not filed after the family, investigators and district attorney met. Trammel said the family requested the case go no further "in order to protect the child's anonymity."

Andries was removed from Natchitoches Parish and sent to an out-of-state treatment center for six months.

Following treatment, Jacobs determined that Andries could return as a priest.


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