Catholic priest sues Baton Rouge TV station for defamation on report of child abuse litigation

The Advocate


A Catholic priest at the center of a contentious court case pitting the secrecy of the confessional against state laws designed to protect children is suing a Baton Rouge television station over the station’s reporting of the case.

The Rev. Jeff Bayhi claims he has been defamed and is seeking damages from WBRZ-TV in 19th Judicial District Court.

In the underlying court case on which WBRZ has reported, Rebecca Mayeux claims when she was 14 she told Bayhi — her pastor at Our Lady of the Assumption in Clinton — that she was sexually abused by a now-deceased church parishioner. She alleges Bayhi neglected his duty under Louisiana law to report the alleged abuse to authorities.

“During this reporting, WBRZ-TV and its employees presented Mayeux’s claims against Father Bayhi in such a manner as to create the impression that those claims were facts instead of mere allegations,” lawyer Henry Olinde Jr. writes in Bayhi’s suit against the station.

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