Woman says Lafayette priest on diocese list of accused sexual abusers assaulted her

Lafayette Daily Advertiser

April 17, 2019

By Ashley White

More than 50 years after she was first abused as a little girl in Lafayette by a priest, Nancy told the diocese her story.

She and her six siblings all gave sworn statements to church leaders. Father John deLeeuw, her parish priest, had assaulted her in her family home on Moss Street near St. Leo the Great, she told them. It started when she was in third grade, at about age 7. It didn’t stop until she was in the sixth.

Then, nothing happened. The diocese had promised money, but none came. The church leaders said deLeeuw would be defrocked. She never heard anything.

That was in 2011.

On Friday, Nancy’s younger brother sent her a text. He captured a photo of the list released by the Diocese of Lafayette of priests credibly accused of sexual abuse, and deLeeuw’s name was on it.

She saw his name and she felt finally vindicated.

“When I first saw the text, I said ‘they finally caught the (SOB).’”

Nancy, an accuser of Father John deLeeuw
“I’ve been waiting a long time for this all to come out,” Nancy, now 69, said. “When I first saw the text, I said ‘they finally caught the (SOB).’ ”

Nancy, who asked that her family’s name not be revealed to protect their identity, said it’s unclear if her accusations or others led to deLeeuw being identified by the diocese. The diocese released names of 33 priests and four deacons, but withheld other significant information, like the nature of abuse allegations, when they were accused and how long they served after they were accused.

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