Priest Removed during Investigation

Associated Press State & Local Wire [Lafayette LA]
July 19, 2004

The Diocese of Lafayette has removed a priest from his duties in an Arnaudville church pending a federal investigation concerning internet pornography.

Father Jules Arceneaux, the pastor of St. Francis Regis Church, has not been charged or arrested. Only a computer from the church rectory has been seized.

Parishioners, informed of Arceneaux's removal in a letter read at Mass over the weekend, were dubious of the investigation.

"That's not Father Jules," said Kenneth Wyatt, among many who suspected the priest has been set up by someone who used Arceneaux's computer to download pornographic images. "Catholic priests are sitting ducks. They are guilty until proven innocent. They're never treated fairly and this is turning into a circus."

The letter stated that FBI agents seized the computer in response to an informant's report.

"If they found something on the computer, I know it's not (Arceneaux)," said Wyatt's wife, Regina. "I love him and I support him and we're praying for him."

If Arceneaux is exonerated, it will be up to Bishop Michael Jarrel to decide whether the priest returns to Arnaudville, said the bishop's spokesman, Monsignor Richard Green.


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