Survivors of Clergy Sex Abuse Want Accountability Following Priest Released on House Arrest
By Chris Welty
April 27, 2020
The release of a priest convicted of molesting a teenage boy is raising questions for the judicial system and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Michael Guidry is out on bail tonight.
One-year-ago this week, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison, with three years suspended, after pleading guilty to molestation of a juvenile.
According to court records, Guidry's defense counsel, Jane Hogan, requested an emergency appeal hearing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Guidry's attorney appeared before the court through video conference and waived her defendant's appearance. Guidry's defense then submitted an emergency motion for bail, which the court granted and set at $10,000 over objections from state prosecutors.
Survivors of clergy sex abuse want accountability.
"This perp is a dangerous perpetrator and what does that say to the individual he sexually abused? I don't care how long ago it was," said Kevin Bourgeois.
He's a survivor of clergy sex abuse and a volunteer leader of the Survivor Network of those Abused by Priests in New Orleans. Bourgeois is disturbed that convicted priest Michael Guidry is out on house arrest.
"What that does is send a message to survivors who had the courage to come forward that their life is not as important as this sex offender's life is," Bourgeois said.
Prosecutors objected to Guidry's release.
"It's highly unusual that a convicted felon for child molestation would be given house arrest pending an appeal," said Tommy Guilbeau.
Guilbeau, a criminal defense attorney who is not representing Guidry said although the release is unusual, he thinks the judge made the right call given the pandemic.
"You have to release these people at this time in good faith or you're condemning them to die in a petri dish of COVID-19," said Guilbeau.
The bail was approved by Judge Alonzo Harris who was the same judge who sentenced Guidry to 10 years last year. At the time, Judge Harris said "there are some things in life you just can't tolerate and one is sexual abuse on our children by priests."
Bourgeois said, "I don't have any compassion towards child sex abusers. I'm sorry. I'm supposed to be better at that, but I'm not and there is a reason for that. They put children through hell and then live a lifetime of living in secret. If there is a priest behind bars, he should stay behind bars."
The victim's family declined comment citing a gag order.