Former Priest Charged with Rape

By Brandon Kane
The Advertiser
March 24, 2012|head

Mark A. Broussard

Even though the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said it was grateful for the arrest of former priest and Duson resident Mark Broussard on molestation charges, the victim's advocacy group issued a statement Friday condemning the actions of his church and diocese in what it called an "unconscionable" failure to act.

"We are grateful that Mark Broussard has been apprehended and will be prevented from harming more children. We are extremely upset and disturbed, however, at the revelation that documents were found in this predator priest's file that detailed sexual contact with at least four other children," the SNAP said in a release. "It is unconscionable that someone could have knowledge of these depraved crimes and yet do nothing to stop them."

Broussard was arrested at his home Thursday on more than 50 counts of sexual battery in connection to his tenure as a priest in Lake Charles.

He stands charged with two counts of aggravated rape and 52 counts of sexual battery after accusations surfaced alleging that the former priest had sexual contact with an 8-year-old between 1986 and 1989.

According to the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office, on Dec. 22 investigators received a letter from an area law firm representing the Diocese of Lake Charles saying they received a letter from the victim, who is now 34, claiming Broussard had molested him as a child.

The sheriff's office said the investigation revealed that, during the time period in question, the victim was sexually assaulted while his family were members of St. Henry Catholic Church in Lake Charles.

The sheriff's office said Broussard left St. Henry Catholic Church in 1992 and was relocated to St. Eugene Catholic Church in Grand Chenier, where he resigned from the priesthood in 1994.

According to the victim advocacy group, the problem was not with the areas itself but rather what investigators found in Broussard's church personnel file.

The SNAP pointed out that documents were located in the Broussard's personnel file where it was indicated he had sexual contact with at least four other male children. These incidents were not reported to law enforcement, the sheriff's office said, which was a problem for the group.

"We hope that Louisiana law enforcement officials will look beyond Broussard's crimes and investigate the clear cover-up that took place at St. Henry Catholic Church," SNAP said in the release. "The fact that they knew of Fr. Broussard's disturbing crimes and relocated him instead of turning him over to police is egregious and should be severely punished."

The group called out Bishop Glen John Provost by name, saying his responsibility fell to the alleged victims and not the priest.

"Officials at the Diocese of Lake Charles, especially Bishop Glen John Provost, should become targets of this investigation as well."

The diocese refused to comment on the matter Friday, instead issuing a brief statement highlighting the group's cooperation with law enforcement.

"In December 2011, the Diocese of Lake Charles received credible allegations regarding the activities of the ex-priest, Mark A. Broussard, and immediately reported the allegations to the District Attorney and Sheriff," The release said. "The Diocese of Lake Charles has and will continue to cooperate fully with all civil authorities."

Judge David Ritchie set Broussard's bond at $1,020,000 while he awaits a court date.








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