DA won't investigate clergy sex abuse claims

August 12, 2014

District Attorney Mike Harson says unless a victim comes forward, his office will not launch an investigation into recently uncovered allegations of sexual abuse by a priest from the Diocese of Lafayette.

“To engage in an investigation without their commitment would appear to be a fruitless endeavor since I would certainly have to have their involvement in order to have any chance of success and it could unnecessarily revisit their trauma and open wounds that they thought were long dealt with, all without their request or desire,” says Harson in an interview with The Daily Advertiser.

Harson also says he has no plans to ask for a list cited by Bishop Michael Jarrell of 15 priests whose victims received settlements from the diocese. He also doesn’t plan on looking into allegations against the Rev. Gil Dutel.

“I do not plan on taking any action on these alleged matters at this time unless a victim comes forward and expresses an intent to pursue criminal action and is willing to see it through to the end,” says Harson. “It would appear to me that the victims have had the opportunity to examine their options and have decided to deal with their trauma in other ways. Their decision may be based on fear, embarrassment or many other reasons, but it is a decision they apparently made.”

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