2 La. Priests Returned to Service after Accusations of Sex Abuse

By Janet McConnaughey
April 19, 2002

NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana priest accused of abusing a 16-year-old boy in the boy's Vermilion Parish home had been returned to the pulpit after "complete resolution" of an earlier accusation, the Diocese of Alexandria said Thursday.

Also Thursday, records were released to The Associated Press by Florida authorities showing that another Louisiana priest, the Rev. Norman J. Rogge, continued to serve in the priesthood for years even after being sentenced to a year in prison for sexual abuse of a boy in Florida.

In the case involving the teen-ager in Vermilion Parish, an unsigned statement from the diocese issued Thursday said the Rev. John Andries was the pastor of St. Margaret Church in Boyce until the teen-ager's father reported the incident in June to Bishop Sam G. Jacobs.

The Diocese of Alexandria said Andries had been suspended from the priesthood after a sexual misconduct allegation earlier in his career but was returned after "a complete resolution of that matter, satisfactory to all involved parties, and a program of psychological testing and counseling."Anthony J. Fontana, the attorney for the family, said the parents knew nothing about that history when they invited Andries to spend the night in June, offering the extra bed in their son's room.

"During the night the boy wakes up and finds fluid all over his back and bed," he said.

The family immediately went to the bishop, Fontana said. "The bishop's response was, 'Oh, no! Not again! I thought he was OK since the last evaluation. And he wasn't supposed to be around kids.'If he wasn't supposed to be around kids, what are you doing putting him back in the church parish?" Fontana said.

The diocese's statement said that when the boy's father told Jacobs, the bishop told him that either he or the father must immediately report the incident to police, and the father reported it.

Both incidents were handled according to the diocesan sexual-abuse policy, it said.

Michael Harson, district attorney in Lafayette, Vermilion and Acadia parishes, confirmed Wednesday that he is investigating the Vermilion accusation.

Rogge also served in the Alexandria diocese, but under a different bishop, when he pleaded guilty in 1985 to walking around naked in front of a 10-year-old boy during a trip in Florida.

Rogge, then a priest at St. Patrick church in the Grant Parish town of Montgomery, served a one-year sentence in the Citrus County, Fla., jail after pleading guilty to performing a lewd or lascivious act.

A bill of information also had charged him with having the boy perform oral sex on him - sexual battery on a child younger than the age of 12, which would have meant at least 25 years in prison.

The Citrus County Sheriff's Office faxed records of the case Thursday to The Associated Press.

He was later moved to Grand Coteau, but it is not clear when. The Times of Acadiana, which first reported the case, said that in recent years, Rogge, a Jesuit, was a priest at St. Charles Borromeo there.

The Citrus County records identify him as Anthony J. Rogge, aka Norman J. Rogge, a Catholic priest who was born in Baton Rouge in 1925 and had a 2-inch scar on his left wrist.


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