Rayne Priest Accused of Sexual Misconduct

Associated Press State & Local Wire
July 30, 2002

A retired Rayne priest has been accused of sexually abusing four minors during his tenure at the Shrine of Our Mother of Mercy Catholic Church, Lafayette Bishop Edward O'Donnell told parishioners.

Rev. Wilfred DesRosiers has denied the charges, according to the Lafayette Diocese. DesRosiers served as pastor of Our Mother of Mercy beginning in 1967.

DesRosiers, now 84, worked at the Rayne church until 1972. He is now retired and living at a nursing home in Canada.

The Rev. Joseph Verrett, a representative of the superior general of the Josephite Fathers and Brothers, joined Lafayette Bishop Edward O'Donnell on Sunday at Our Mother of Mercy to talk to the congregation.

The Josephites, the order DesRosiers served in, have accepted responsibility for handling the case, the bishop said. Verrett is staying at the church rectory until Wednesday to talk to people who may want to report misconduct.

Verrett said the names of the people named as victims are being kept confidential, but civil authorities have been contacted.

A list of assignments for DesRosiers provided by the Josephites' office of the superior general shows the priest took a leave of absence from July 1972 to September 1973. DesRosiers then served as an assistant at Our Mother of Mercy in Beaumont, Texas, for nearly two years before retiring in September 1975.

Our Mother of Mercy parishioner Louise Bellamy said the accusations don't fit the man she remembers.

"He seemed to be a man of God," Bellamy said.


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