Father Gilbert Dutel, of the St. Edmond Catholic Church in Lafayette, La., denied recent reports that he sexually abused a 9-year-old boy in the 1970s.
Minnesota Public Radio reported in July about court papers that had been sealed by a judge since 1995 that were part of a "massive insurance lawsuit" in 1992 against some Louisiana Catholic priests:
Another Catholic attorney who had represented victims, Anthony Fontana, was frustrated in his efforts to get the bishop's attention. "There's another problem you need to know about," he told (Archbishop Harry) Flynn. A Lafayette priest named Gilbert Dutel had been accused of coercing young adult men into having sex. Flynn offered a calm reply. He explained that Dutel was cured and that, regardless, he needed to keep him in ministry because of the priest shortage.
The alleged victim claimed in a 1992 affidavit that Father Dutel was working at St. Theresa Church in Abbeville, La., when the alleged molestation happened from 1975 to 1977 in the church rectory.
RawStory.com notes that the alleged victim stated in the affidavit about Father Dutel: “Well, he would just put his arms around me and he was I guess trying to be consoling, kind of gentle and then he just started playing with me and he unzipped my pants. He performed oral sex on me.”
According to the Daily Advertiser, two other priests in the area were also accused of sexual abuse in the same time period; one has since committed suicide, while the other admitted to raping a child.
Father Dutel told churchgoers at St. Edmond’s Catholic Church on Sunday that the accusations against him were false, and received a standing ovation (video below).
“Let me state emphatically that any alleged incident being reported that took place some 30-plus years ago is false,” stated Father Dutel. “Let me assure you that I have not been a threat to young people in this parish or any other parish in which I have served as a priest or anywhere else. I regret deeply the embarrassment and heartache that all of this may have caused.”