Lafayette Diocese defends priest accused of pedophilia


In reacting to the recently resurrected allegations of sexual abuse among local clergy, is the Catholic Diocese of Lafayette maintaining its old stance of protecting their own?

In a four-part series released last week, Minnesota Public Radio — using a recently un-sealed federal lawsuit filed in 1988 by the Diocese of Lafayette against its insurance broker — has shed new light on the church’s handling of a 1980s pedophilia scandal, including the name of a priest still working in the diocese.

That priest, according to the report, is the Rev. Gilbert Dutel of St. Edmond Catholic Church in Lafayette.

According to a statement filed in 1992 by Dutel’s alleged victim, the sexual relationship with the local priest started in 1976. The victim was 9 or 10, and the alleged relationship would go on for another five or six years, eventually including two additional priests from the diocese.

“[Dutel] would just put his arms around me and he was, I guess, trying to be consoling, kind and gentle and then he just started playing with me and he unzipped my pants,” claims the victim, a former altar boy who’s name was redacted from the 1992 document recounting his first sexual encounter with Dutel in Vermilion Parish.

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