U.S. Attorney's Office Ends Investigation of Priest Accused of Downloading Child Porn

KLFY, Channel 10 [Lafayette LA]
April 7, 2005

Eyewitness News has learned U.S. Attorney Donald Washington is filing a bill of information, officially announcing his office's intention of ending its investigation of Father Jules Arceneaux, an Acadiana priest who was under investigation by the FBI for allegedly downloading child pornography onto a computer at Arceneaux's church in Arnaudville.

Washington writes:

We have completed our investigation and have determined the evidence collected is not sufficient to meet the prosecutable standard of this office and this type of case.

The problem, according to federal prosecutors, is that in order to secure a conviction for child pornography, prosecutors need to be able to prove the downloaded images in question are in fact children.

And, those efforts in this case were not successful.

Reached for comment Thursday afternoon, Father Arceneaux's attorney, Bill Goode says he is very pleased with the government's decision.

The federal government may be finished, but the Catholic church isn't. Bishop Michael Jarrell told Eyewitness News:

Now that the civil authorities have finished their investigation...and in view of this new information, the diocese is now resuming its investigation according to church law.

Father Arceneaux remains suspended from public ministry as he has been since the beginning.

The Diocese of Lafayette removed Father Arceneaux from his position as pastor at St. Francis Regis Church in Arnaudville as soon as it learned of the allegations.


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