Alleged abusive priest serving in Lafayette

The Advocate

Claire Taylor July 29, 2014

Here in the heart of Cajun country, where the first priest sex abuse scandal rocked the Roman Catholic Church faithful in the 1980s, allegations have surfaced that a priest who sexually abused a boy in the 1970s continues to minister in Lafayette.

Two documents from the 1990s uncovered during a recent Minnesota Public Radio investigation allege the Rev. Gilbert Dutel sexually abused a boy in the 1970s while serving at a church in Abbeville. He was also was accused of coercing young men into having sex, the MPR story says.

Both Dutel, who is pastor of St. Edmond Catholic Church in Lafayette, and the Diocese of Lafayette denied the allegations Tuesday.

The Survivors Network of Those Abused By Priests issued a statement July 21, following the MPR investigation, urging Diocese of Lafayette Bishop Michael Jarrell to suspend Dutel immediately.

The Diocese of Lafayette, in a written response to The Advertiser’s questions about the reports Tuesday, said the “unproven allegations” against Dutel were investigated years ago.

“No new information exists that warrants any action by the Diocese,” the statement reads. “In the absence of any contrary information, Father Dutel remains a priest in good standing.”

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