Alleged Abuse: Accused of sex abuse in Calcasieu, Lafayette, and St. Landry parishes; State Police say the evidence was credible, and the church knew about the abuse, but too much time had elapsed to prosecute.
Where is he now: Sentenced to a life of prayer and penance, residing in Pennsylvania (according to Lake Charles Diocese)
Youngsville victim files complaints at least three times:
- In 1982, church documents indicate a victim came forward to the Lafayette Sheriff’s Office, alleging abuse against Gerardus “Gerard” Smit at St. Anne Church in Youngsville. The victim was reportedly told the statute of limitations for the 1960’s abuse was over. The victim says he was among a group of boys taken to a camp on the weekends, near Mamou and Estherwood. Different priests, including Gilbert Gauthe, would also go as well and participate in the sexual abuse, according to the complaint. He said Smit continued to monitor and stalk him, and even sent him a check for $10,000 for “medical care” which later bounced.
- The victim came forward again to church officials in Delaware after seeing Smit on a church bulletin there. Smit had been given a letter of recommendation to work in the diocese there, but after the victim came forward in 1996, the bishop barred Smit from serving as a priest there. Smit stayed in the area and was last known to be working at the University of Delaware, describing himself as “retired.” The Diocese of Wilmington includes him on a list of priests accused of sexual abuse of minors there.
- In 2002, the victim came forward to the Diocese in Lake Charles saying he wanted a financial settlement, not counseling. They went back an forth, and eventually criminal complaints were filed with Louisiana State Police in 2015 against Smit, accusing him of molesting an altar boy in 1961 at St. Anne Church in Youngsville. State Police said they found credible evidence but couldn’t prosecute Smit because of the time that had elapsed.
Lake Charles victims:
In 1986 Gerardus “Gerard” Smit was sent to treatment after a complaint was received that he abused little girls in Lake Charles in the 1960’s. Church officials asked that he not return to the area when he finished his treatment.
A former altar boy came forward in 2010 to Bishop Michael Jarrell, claiming Smit had sexually abused him in the 1970s in Cankton at St. John Berchman’s. Smit denied the allegations in writing from Delaware.
In 2011, Bishop Jarrell tells the Lake Charles Diocese the investigation into sexual abuse bore “at least the semblance of truth necessary to proceed according to the norm of canon law.” Smit was told not to have contact with those under the age of 18 and refrain from public celebration of the sacraments or public acts of worship.
1950: Ordained in Villa Regia Cistercian, Netherlands
1950’s-1960’s : Alleged abuse in Youngsville and Cankton, according to the Lake Charles diocese
1957: St. Joseph’s (& schools), Iota
1957: St. Michael’s (mission), Egan
1959: Our Lady Queen of Heaven (& school) and Christ the King, Lake Charles
1960: St. Ann’s, Youngsville; St. Joseph’s, Milton, St. John of the Cross, LeBlanc
1963: Our Lady Queen of Heaven (& school) and Christ the King, Lake Charles
1965: Letter in the Lake Charles’ personnel file saying there was a need for therapy for “hanging on to adolescence especially in the area of sexuality”
1966: St. John Berchman’s, Cankton
1975: Our Lady of the Lake, Lake Arthur
1982: Victim reportedly tells deputies in Lafayette about sexual abuse from 1965-1970 in Youngsville but is told it was beyond the statue of limitations (according to church documents)
1983: St. Raphael’s, Iowa; St. John the Evangelist, Laccassine; St. Joseph’s, Chloe
1984: St. Raphael’s Church, Iowa
1986: Bishop Speyrer received a complaint regarding sexual abuse of young girls at Our Lady Queen of Heaven. Smit received “treatment” at Jemez Springs (according to church documents); asked not to return to the Lake Charles Diocese.
1987: Immaculate Conception, Delaware
1987-1993: On duty outside the diocese of Lake Charles
1996: The Diocese in Delaware contacts the Lafayette diocese to report a victim came forward alleging sexual abuse in the 1960’s (same victim who reported in 1982). Lafayette officials say there were no reports of any incidents.
1998: Memo indicates that Smit fathered two children in Cankton; Bishop Speyrer apparently aware of the children
2002: Memo indicates Lake Charles diocese received a complaint from a victim who alleges sexual abuse in Youngsville (same victim who reported in 1982 & 1996). Lake Charles turns over investigation to Lafayette diocese.
2007: Sexual abuse allegations made to the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office.
2010: Sexual abuse allegation made to Bishop Jarrell (according to church documents) from victim in Cankton that was abused in 1975-1976.
2011: Smit was told by church officials not to have contact with those under the age of 18 and refrain from public celebration of the sacraments or public acts of worship.
2015: Complaint filed with Louisiana State Police.