Acadiana Priest Removed over Sexual Incident

By Kevin Blanchard
State-Times/Morning Advocate (Baton Rouge, Louisiana)
July 13, 2002

LAFAYETTE - A Broussard Roman Catholic Church monsignor has been removed from his post after announcing he "had engaged in sexual impropriety with a minor about 30 years ago," said a release Friday from the Diocese of Lafayette.

Monsignor Michael Herpin, a pastor at Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Broussard and vicar for the diocese's central region, informed the diocese about the "sexual impropriety" Monday, the release said.

The diocese said the "proper civil authorities" have been notified, though it provided no further details about where or when the "sexual impropriety with a minor" occurred.

The diocese's Office of Communications phone was not answered Friday afternoon. The diocese normally closes at noon Fridays. The release was faxed to media at 1:20 p.m.

A person who answered the phone at Bishop Edward O'Donnell's office said the bishop would be out of town until Tuesday.

The diocese's Review Board for the Effective Response to the Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Minors met the same day Herpin made his admission, the release said.

The board recommend to O'Donnell that Herpin be removed from his parish and diocesan responsibilities. "(Herpin will) be provided with medical treatment according to diocesan policy and the norms established by the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops," according to the release.

Diocese officials are searching for any other possible victims of Herpin and are starting an "outreach program" for those people.

"The diocese always asks any person who believes that he or she has been abused or who is aware of the abuse of minors to report the matter to the appropriate civil authorities and to the church authorities," the release said.

In April, O'Donnell removed the Rev. Joseph Alexander, from his duties in Eunice. Alexander had been accused of having a sexual relationship with a teen-age boy 40 years ago in Kentucky before he was ordained as a priest.

The victim complained to the diocese in Kentucky, which referred the matter to O'Donnell. According to O'Donnell, Alexander acknowledged his involvement.

O'Donnell said last month that his office had received two complaints of sexual misconduct but had yet to review the cases. The release does not say if O'Donnell was referring to Herpin then.

Herpin's sister, Anna Joyce Castille, said she did not want to comment.

"It's just a tragedy," she said.


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