Will We Ever Learn?

By Diane Fanning
Women in Crime Ink.
April 29, 2008

Will we ever learn that the phrase "he paid his debt to society" is an irrelevant concept when applied to pedophiles?

Last week, Gilbert Gauthe made the case for permanent confinement of these types of sex offenders. Gauthe was the priest in Louisiana who heralded the beginning of the Catholic sex scandal as the first in the country to face multiple charges of child molestation. In 1985, he admitted that, over a five-year-period, he raped and sodomized thirty-seven altar boys, ages six to thirteen. He abused them on the altar, in the confessional and everywhere else. Thirty-seven!

He was convicted on eleven counts of crimes against nature with children and eleven counts of pornography involving a child. His punishment for scarring these innocent children for life? He served nine years of his 20-year sentence before his release in 1995.

Debt paid? Felon rehabilitated? Not hardly. In 1997, he was no longer a priest but he certainly was still a pedophile. He was arrested for fondling the genitals of a 3-year-old boy in Polk County, Texas. What did he get for that offense? He was allowed to plead guilty to the lesser charge of "injury to a child" when Louisiana failed to forward his criminal records to the court. Gauthe's sentence: seven years probation. It boggles the mind.

In 1998, a woman stepped forward with the accusation that Gauthe raped her seventeen years earlier when she was just twelve years old. Gauthe was arrested and returned to Louisiana where he spent two years in the Lafayette jail before the charges were dropped and he was released. It seems that the prosecutor, in making the 1985 plea bargain, wrote a very broad immunity agreement that shielded Gauthe from any additional charges for child molestation offenses committed before that date in the Vermillion Paris. He walked out the front doors of the jail to face the jeers of a crowd gathered to protest his regained freedom.

Gauthe still had four years of probation to serve in Texas. He returned to the state and, worked in Conroe, just north of Houston, driving the elderly to appointments in a commuter van. After keeping this job with The Friendship Center for about two years, his employers learned about his past from reporters who had tracked down the pedophile and asked the agency about their driver. He was fired.

Soon after that, he moved south of Houston to La Marque. He found a job working for a limousine company. Nobody's sure how long he was living there on the property of his employer since he did not report his whereabouts to the probation office as required. But intrepid reporters at KTRK-TV found and attempted to interview him. Their efforts came to the attention of the police who noticed that the 62-year-old Gauthe was in violation of the law that requires him to reaffirm his personal data, including his address and employment every ninety days for the rest of his life. When confronted, Gauthe complied with the reporting rules and went on the list of sex offenders in the area. With that accomplished, he moved, without giving authorities the required seven day notification.

Detective Geoff Price--our new hero--tracked him down to Galveston Island State Park. He was living in his recreational vehicle in this target-rich area for a pedophile. Gauthe lied to the officer about his continued employment. Last Wednesday, Price hauled Gauthe off to jail where he belongs.

If he is convicted of failing to register as a sexual offender, Gauthe could receive up to a 20-year sentence and a fine of $10,000.

Who cares about the fine? Keep the money, honey--just lock up this destructive jerk for the rest of his natural life.


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