Former Priest Mark Broussard on Trial - Day 1
By Theresa Schmidt
February 1, 2016
|Mark Anthony Broussard (Source: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office)|
A jury in a former priest's sex abuse trial heard graphic testimony Monday from a man who said he was sexually assaulted by Mark Broussard.
The witness's testimony portrayed Broussard as a predator who groomed the boy for sexual activity, eventually accelerating to rape.
Mark Anthony Broussard is charged with molestation of a juvenile, oral sexual battery, aggravated oral sexual battery and two counts of aggravated rape. The allegations revolve around Broussard's time as a priest at Our Lady Queen of Heaven and St. Henry Catholic Church, from 1986-91. The charges against Broussard are based on allegations of two men who were altar boys. Broussard, who is free on $1.5 million bond, was initially indicted on 224 counts of sexual abuse, but the charges were reduced to five, which reflect the entirety of the accusations.
KPLC's Theresa Schmidt is covering the trial. Follow her at twitter.com/KplcTschmidt.
The man who took the stand Monday said he was about 8 years old and riding his bike around the parking lot of St. Henry when a stranger stopped him. That man was Broussard.
According to the witness, Broussard befriended him and eventually fondled, molested and raped him as the sexual contact accelerated over the course of about a year.
The victim also testified extensively about various measures taken to make sure no one saw or heard what was happening. He said at the point when the abuse had accelerated to sex in the rectory, an employee heard him crying from the pain and beat on the door, demanding that Broussard open it. Broussard and the employee argued, with Broussard threatening that she would lose her job, the man said. He said he ran home.
The man said Broussard told him that if he told anyone, his parents would be kicked out of church. Broussard told him that he was lucky to be chosen and what was doing was something special that all altar boys did.
According to the victim, the memories came flooding back around the time of Hurricane Katrina, when he thought he was in a life-or-death situation.
Defense attorney Tom Lorenzi attempted to attack the victim's credibility, asking questions that suggested money might have been the motive.
Though the victim received $125,000 from the diocese in 2012, he said the money was not the motive for coming forward - plus there's no money to be gained from a criminal trial.
The man said he thought about keeping the allegations to himself, but ultimately told the secret to protect other children.
He said he considered killing Broussard, but never confronted him.
"I have no motive to lie; it's the truth," he said. "It's time Mark Broussard face the truth about the sexual acts he committed" against me.
Bishop Glen John Provost testified that he became aware of the allegations in 2011 and that they were promptly reported to the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office and the Calcasieu Parish District Attorney's Office.
Provost said the $125,000 settlement was the church's opportunity to reach out to someone he believed had been assaulted.
The bishop also said that 2002 was the turning point in how the church deals with allegations of sexual assault. He said the bishops adopted a charter to protect children.