Church ordered to pay $1.8 million in sexual abuse case

United Press International
December 12, 1987

Abbeville, La. -- The Catholic diocese of Lafayette has been ordered to pay $1.8 million to the family of a former altar boy who was sexually abused by a priest.

Calvin John Mire of Intracoastal City and his parents were asking for $8 million, but Mire was awarded $1.55 million and his parents $250,000 by jurors Friday.

Former Vermilion Parish priest Gilbert Gauthe was accused of the molestation. Gauthe is now serving a 20-year prison term for sex crimes.

Testimony showed Mire was an altar boy when he was abused by Gauthe at St. John's Catholic Church in Henry, 75 miles south-southwest of Baton Rouge.

The boy told the jury he was subjected to sexual abuse on more than 30 occasions.

Last year the family of another victim, Glen Gastal of Abbeville, was awarded $1.25 million in damages. Attorneys said there are more than 12 civil claims remaining against the diocese concerning Gauthe's sexual abuse of altar boys.

In the Mire and Gastal cases, the church admitted liability, leaving the jury to decide only the amount of a judgment.

An attorney representing the diocese said he did not know if the church would appeal.


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