At this point, it’s next to impossible to lift up a priest’s robe without finding a nine-year-old boy underneath it. Unfortunately, that seems to be the case with yet another member of the clergy. Lafayette, LA priest Father Gilbert Dutel is accused of–as seems to be the norm in the Catholic church of late–“coercing young adult men into having sex,” according to a report published by Minnesota Public Radio.
One such “young adult man,” a nine-year-old boy, explained in an affidavit that accompanied the report, “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.” The alleged victim claimed he was abused by two other priests, as well.
This particular victim said he had about eight sexual encounters with the priest in total. Due to a “shortage of priests,” Bishop Harry Flynn suggested that Dutel be kept in a position of trust that fed his dark desires a steady stream of children. The Bishop claimed Dutel had been “cured.”
After the affidavit was made public, Dutel read a statement during mass at St. Edmond’s Catholic Church. In the statement, Dutel proclaimed his innocence in the 1970s abuse case he had thought swept under the rug.
Since the victim came forward 22 years ago, Dutel has worked in elementary schools and has had a playground named after him.
On Wednesday, the Diocese of Lafayette released a statement defending claiming Dutel is innocent, as well.
Many years ago, unproven allegations were made about Father Gilbert Dutel. An investigation took place back then which considered the totality of the facts available. No new information exists that warrants any action by the Diocese. In the absence of any contrary information, Father Dutel remains a priest in good standing at the Diocese of Lafayette.
The Diocese of Lafayette is committed to providing a safe environment for children. Anyone who has been a victim of abuse by church personnel or who may have information concerning a crime is encouraged to call a local law enforcement agency.
Survivors of Those Abused By Priests, SNAP, is calling for Dutel;s suspension and is asking other victims to come forward.
“We urge Bishop Michael Jarrell to immediately oust Fr. Dutel and use his vast resources to beg anyone who saw, suspects or suffered crimes by Dutel to come forward, call police and start healing,” wrote SNAP spokesperson David Clohessy in a statement.
KATC said that it could not find a lawsuit filed against Dutel, and that there have not been any criminal charges filed against him. However, the station found two out-of-court settlements relating to the other two priests, Fr. Fontenot and Fr. David Primeaux. Fontenot was convicted of child abuse charges in Spokane, WA, and Primeaux committed suicide in 2012.
Watch a report on the abuse, below: