Showing posts with label Lafayette Diocese. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lafayette Diocese. Show all posts

Monday, March 25, 2024

Dear Bishop Douglas Deshotel: Excommunicate me too!

A few days ago, Bishop Douglas Deshotel, prelate of the Lafayette Diocese, excommunicated Scott Peyton, a former Catholic deacon whose son was sexually molested by a Catholic priest. The priest, Father Michael Guidry, pleaded guilty to molesting the boy and is now in prison.

Excommunication is an extraordinarily harsh punishment to impose on an errant Catholic, especially an anguished Catholic whose son was sexually abused by a Catholic priest. What did Mr. Peyton do to deserve Bishop Deshotel’s wrath?

It seems Peyton angered the bishop by writing a letter that expressed his disillusionment over his son’s molestation and the way the Catholic Church handled it.

After “deep reflection,” Peyton wrote, he had decided to “leave the Catholic Church and the diaconate.” He also wrote that he was distressed by years of reports about sexual abuse by Catholic clergy.

“The magnitude of these revelations,” Peyton wrote, “has deeply shaken my faith and trust in the institution to which I have dedicated a significant portion of my life.”

Peyton stressed that his decision to resign from the diaconate and leave the Church was not a rejection of his Christian faith. “Instead, it reflects a conscientious objection to the way the Church has handled cases of sexual abuse and a desire to distance myself from an institution that, currently, falls short of the values it professes.”

I think Bishop Deshotel miscalculated. If every Catholic whose faith was shaken by the Church’s sexual abuse scandals deserves excommunication, then millions of people are going to be kicked out of the Catholic Church.

I confess that my Catholic faith has been deeply shaken by hundreds of reports of child rape—rape that was covered up by dozens of bishops on the advice of their lawyers. So, Bishop Deshotel, I invite you to excommunicate me too.

Scott and Letitia Peyton 
Photo credit: The Advocate

Sunday, March 24, 2024

A long history of child molestation by priests in Lafayette Diocese. Maybe some bishops should go to jail

In 2016, I wrote a letter to Bishop Deshotel,  reporting that I had been treated rudely by Monsignor Richard Mouton in the confession booth. After asking several shocking sexual questions, Monsignor Mouton refused to confess me because I was divorced.

I delivered the letter to Bishop Douglas Deshotel on September 14, 2016. It is now 2024, and I have yet to receive Bishop Deshotel's response. 

I learned later that Monsignor Mouton was one of the priests in the Lafayette Diocese who figured in the sexual abuse scandal involving Father Gilbert Gauthe, who was eventually convicted of sexually abusing children. In 1984, the Lafayette Diocese settled claims by nine child victims for more than $4 million.

Father Gauthe's hellish behavior, which included anal intercourse and oral sex with children, first became public in 1983. However, it came to light in the course of litigation that Monsignor Mouton had received reports from parents in 1976 that Father Gauthe had kissed two boys.

Monsignor Mouton was the pastor of the Catholic church in Abbeville then, and the preditory Father Gauthe was the assistant pastor. According to reporter Jason Berry, who wrote a book about the Gauthe tragedy, Monsignor Mouton responded to news of Gauthe's misbehavior by "ordering [Gauthe] to move to an upstairs bedroom in the rectory."

Seven years later, Gauthe's sexual predation became public knowledge, and the parents of some of the victims contacted a lawyer.

 Monsignor Mouton, apparently hoping to quiet things down, invited Roy Robichaux, father of three of Gauthe's victims, to come to the rectory for a little chat. Robichaux told Monsignor Mouton that he was notifying other parents whose children might also have been victimized by Gauthe.

According to reporter Berry's account, Monsignor did not approve. "Should anyone get hurt, Mouton admonished, the guilt would rest on Roy [Robichaux] for making it public."

Monsignor Mouton also said something that profoundly shocked Mr. Robichaux: "Think how Gauthe's mother would feel."

Robichaux responded as any good Cajun father would under the circumstances. "How in the fuck do you think the mothers of these kids feel?"

But Mouton continued to downplay what happened to Robichaux's three children. "The boys were young, Mouton said gently. They would bounce back and get over these things."
Later, Mouton telephoned Robichaux and offered to hear the three children's confessions. Robichaux reportedly said no. "My sons do not need confession! They did nothing wrong."

Priests have sexually abused children in the Lafayette Diocese for almost half a century. In 2019, Father Michael Guidry pleaded guilty to molesting the teenage son of Scott Peyton, a Catholic deacon. Guidry went to prison, and the Diocese issued a three-sentence apology.
Earlier this month, Bishop Douglas Deshotel excommunicated Mr. Peyton, the victim's father! Why? Apparently, because Mr. Peyton admitted that the sexual abuse of his son by a priest had shaken his faith.
Sexual abuse of children by priests in Lafayette Diocese has gone on too long. Maybe it's time to start putting some bishops in jail.

Father Gilbert Gauthe, convicted of sexual abuse in 1985


Jason Berry. Lead Us Not Into Temptation: Catholic Priests and the Sexual Abuse of Children. New York; Doubleday, 1992.

Jason Berry. The Tragedy of Gilbert Gauthe (Part 1)Times of Acadiana, May 23, 1985.

Mary Gail Frawley O'Dea. Perversion of Power: Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 2007.
Steven Marcantel. Former deacon excommunicated from church. The (Baton Rouge) Advocate, March 24, 2024.