Lafayette Diocese hit once again with allegations of abuse


The spectre of priest sex abuse has returned to haunt the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lafayette following the recent release of an investigative report by Minnesota Public Radio, revealing new allegations of another child predator hiding behind the clerical collar.

The investigative, four-part series by Minnesota Public Radio delves into court documents tracing as far back as the 1980s, when the first reported priest sex abuse scandal put the Lafayette Diocese under the national spotlight. New information revealed in MPR’s report, however, shows one alleged child predator, the Rev. Gilbert Dutel, has remained with the Diocese, and currently serves as the pastor of St. Edmond Catholic Church in Lafayette.

According to MPR, Dutil’s alleged sexual abuse traces back to the 1970s, during his tenure as pastor of St. Theresa Church in Abbeville, and a case involving a young boy:

In the case of Dutel, the documents show, the allegations weren’t limited to young adults. Dutel had also been accused of sexually abusing a child. In an interview with a lawyer in 1992, the alleged victim said Dutel had abused him in the 1970s, starting when he was 9 years old.

Despite the allegations, Dutil, who is now 69 years old, has remained with the church, even receiving assignments to work with several elementary and high schools over the 22 years since the claims first surfaced, including a spot on the St. Thomas More Catholic High School’s board of directors, as well as a more than 10 year stint with the St. Peter and Paul Church in Scott. The church in Scott also operates as an elementary school, and in 2010 an anonymous donor who paid for the school’s playground requested it be named “Father Gil’s Playground” in honor of Dutil.

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