New Orleans Advocate
By James Gill
NOV 3, 2016
After the lawsuit was filed, a trial was scheduled for 2009, but it was called off while an army of attorneys haggled before the judges of four different courts.
We are still waiting for a trial date to set. Only a great deal of judicial bungling could cause such a delay. Indeed, the state Supreme Court, in a decision handed down last week, blamed itself for some of the “widespread confusion” that has left the case to yo-yo around the system for so long.
Surely it is only in complex cases that judges should have to cudgel their honorable brains for seven whole years before a trial can begin. The issue that has held up proceedings here could hardly be simpler. A layman, reading the plain words of the relevant statute, could have resolved it at the beginning. It takes years of legal training to get lost in so many blind alleys.
an’t legally be forced to reveal what’s heard in confessional, Louisiana Supreme Court rules
The suit was filed on behalf of Rebecca Mayeux, who alleged that in 2008, when she was 14, she had been sexually molested on several occasions by George Charlet, an elderly parishioner at her Catholic church in Clinton. Mayeux claimed she complained to her priest, Jeff Bayhi, during confession, but he had given her the brush-off. Bayhi was legally obliged to report Mayeux’s accusations to the civil authorities, according the lawsuit, which was filed after Charlet died.
Just before trial was due to begin before state judge Mike Caldwell, the archdiocese filed a motion to exclude any reference to what had been said in the confessional. Caldwell denied it on grounds that the priest/penitent privilege did not bar Mayeux from waiving her own right to secrecy. He noted, however, that, regardless of secular law, Bayhi would probably refuse to divulge what had been said at confession.
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