The Office of Attorney General Jeff Landry has released details of four criminal complaints made against clergy in the Catholic Church. The complaints, dating back to Aug. 31, 2018, were made available following a public records request by KATC Investigates. In each complaint the AG’s office instructs the victim to work with local law enforcement agencies and forwards the complaint to that jurisdiction.
Landry released the documents on the same day the Archdiocese of New Orleans released of a list of 57 names of priests credibly accused of sex abuse.
According to a statement attached to complaints, the attorney general’s press secretary said:
To date, the Louisiana Department of Justice (LADOJ) has received four criminal complaints involving catholic clergy and a few correspondences from constituents expressing support of a statewide grand jury, similar to what Pennsylvania was legally able to do. In response to the allegations we received, the LADOJ responded to each of the alleged victims. Additionally, the LADOJ sent official referral letters to the proper law enforcement agency in the parish where each crime was allegedly committed.
Though redacted, KATC has confirmed one of the letters to the attorney general’s office is from one of Msgr. Robie Robichaux’s accusers.
The complainant letter reads:
I first reported my abuse to the diocese in 1993/94 and have been asking them to remove the accused priest removed from active ministry since then, to no avail. He is in a high position in the diocese. Although they acknowledged the truth of my accusations, their last communication to me was a letter from Bishop Jarrell stating that they would not take action, because according to canon law I was not considered a minor at 16. They said they would write to Rome concerning this and never contacted me again.
You can read more on Robichaux’s case here.
The other complaints of sexual abuse include one against a Catholic priest identified as “Friar Thompson” at Maryhill Camp in Pineville in 1956 and Friar Harvey Fortier at Menard Catholic High School in Alexandria.
Another complaint involves an alleged cover up and an unsigned settlement agreement over sexual abuse at Jesuit High School of New Orleans at an unknown date.
And one other complaint is from an unidentified police officer in the New Orleans area that alleges sexual abuse at an unknown date at Jesuit Church in New Orleans.
Landry’s statement goes on to say:
“As a father and Attorney General, General Landry has been deeply troubled by these allegations. He strongly believes that no child should ever be taken advantage of, especially by someone they trust. And our office remains committed to helping anyone who may have been abused seek justice.
If you are a victim or a legally mandated reporter, we urge you to contact your local law enforcement agency. If our office may assist anyone in connecting them to the proper agency, please call the Louisiana Bureau of Investigation at 800-256-4506.”