Priest Accused Of Sexual Child Abuse Receives Standing Ovation From Church (VIDEO)

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Last weekend, Father Gilbert Dutel received a standing ovation from Louisiana church members after details of a 1992 sexual abuse case involving a 9-year-old boy were made public.

Minnesota Public Radio had released the report last month, and incorporated a new affidavit. The affidavit stated that Dutel “had been accused of coercing young adult men into having sex.” Two other priests – Father Ronald Lane “Jean Paul” Fontenot and David Primeaux – were also mentioned, but this was the first time Dutel’s name appeared. The victim stated:

“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.” [source]

According to the victim, Dutel sexually assaulted him about eight times in total.

Despite the abuse, Bishop Harry Flynn said that Dutel was not removed from his position due to a shortage of priests. He also said that Dutel had been “cured.”

At Sunday mass at St. Edmond’s Catholic Church, Dutel tried to assure church members of his innocence by reading a statement – which received a standing ovation.

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Part of Dutel’s announcement read:

First, let me state emphatically that any alleged incident being reported that took place some 30 plus years ago is false. I maintained my innocence then and I maintain my innocence now! I cooperated then with the process that the diocese, under Bishop Harry Flynn, had established. Bishop Flynn concluded that the allegation against me was not credible.

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 heart-ache that all of this may have caused. At this point in my priestly life my greater concern is for all of you – the good and faithful people of this parish, as well as the good and faithful Catholics to whom I have ministered in the past 44+ years as a priest. I pray that the reality of the cross – which is an instrument of death, not inconvenience – might help us die to our concerns of human pride and fear. As St. Paul tells us in Romans 8: “All things work together for the good of those who love God.” [source]

Dutel also thanked his loyal churchgoers for their support:

“Thank you for all the phone calls, text messages and emails you have sent me. I am humbled by the kind remarks. I ask for your continued support, and I love you.” [source]

Here’s a video of the mass, with Dutel taking the podium at the 10:30 mark:

It has been over two decades since the victim reported the abuse, and Dutel has been allowed to work closely with children in elementary schools since. A playground at one of the schools is even named after him. This is just another fail by the Catholic church to protect young victims from predatory, inappropriate behavior.