UPDATE: Victim of St. Landry priest sues Lafayette Diocese
Lafayette Daily Advertiser
August 27, 2018
|The Rev. Michael Guidry surrendered Thursday morning at the St. Landry Parish jail. Guidry is accused of sexually assaulting a minor.|
A teenager who has reported abuse by St. Landry Parish priest Michael Guidry has filed suit against the priest and the Diocese of Lafayette, a media outlet has reported.
The teenager and his parents — his father is a Diocese of Lafayette deacon — claim in the St. Landry Parish lawsuit that Guidry’s molestation of the teen has fueled the teenager’s alcohol abuse and put a strain on the family’s relationship. And although the Diocese has paid for the teen’s and family’s counseling since the allegations surfaced, the family claims a “high Diocesan official,” who’s also a priest, threatened to halt that treatment should the family sue.
The Daily Advertiser does not identify victims of sexual abuse.
Guidry, 75, served as priest of St. Peter Church in Morrow.
He surrendered in June at the St. Landry Parish jail and was charged with molestation of a juvenile or a person with a physical or mental disability and with contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile.
The Diocese has placed him on leave. The diocese issued a statement Tuesday saying the Diocese has not paid for Guidry's legal expenses.
St. Landry Parish Sheriff Bobby J. Guidroz said his office opened the investigation when a male victim reported he had been sexually molested by Guidry.
According to the report, the alleged victim was 16 at the time of the assault, which occurred at the priest's home.
Guidry confessed that he provided the victim with alcohol and admitted to the sexual assault, authorities said.
In a Monday afternoon statement the Diocese of Lafayette said:
"The Diocese of Lafayette received notice today that a lawsuit seeking compensation for damages has been filed by the family of a victim of sexual abuse by Father Michael Guidry.
"Upon first hearing of the abuse complaints this past June, Bishop Douglas Deshotel immediately removed Father Guidry from ministry and the Diocese fully cooperated with law enforcement authorities during the subsequent criminal investigation. All protocols of the Diocese’s Safe Environment program, which mandates zero tolerance of abuse of any kind, were strictly followed throughout the entire process.
"We respect the victim’s courage in coming forward, in accordance with our Safe Environment policies, which encourage anyone who has information on any cases of abuse to come forward.
"From the beginning, pastoral outreach and counseling has been offered to the victim and his family. At the time of the complaint, there had been no previous claims of any abuse concerning Father Guidry during his 47 years as a priest.
"Contrary to what may have been previously reported, the Diocese of Lafayette is not paying Father Guidry’s legal fees as the criminal case proceeds. The Diocese of Lafayette continues to respect all parties involved and cannot comment on any allegations set forth in the ongoing litigation."
In June, Deshotel he was saddened to hear about Guidry's arrest and confession, and that sexual abuse is a crime and a sin against God.
"Abuse violates a victim's trust in an adult, a professional, an authority figure and especially a member of the clergy," Deshotel said in a statement sent to news organizations on Thursday.
"I pray that the victim finds healing in God's love and the support of friends."
Deshotel said the Diocese will continue to provide ministry and support to the parishes in Morrow and Whiteville, where Guidry was a pastor, and urged citizens to come forward with any information about suspected abuse.