A deacon with the Diocese of Lafayette has been placed on administrative leave following claims of child sexual abuse predating the deacon’s service with the church, the diocese said in a Friday statement.

Deacon Albert Alexander was placed on administrative leave following the allegations of abuse, which related “to a period of time many years before he was ordained a deacon,” diocesan spokesperson Blue Rolfes said in a release. The diocese has not received any allegations related to Alexander’s time in ministry. Investigation into the multiple allegations is ongoing, she said.

Rolfes said she could not offer further details on how or when the allegations were received, or how many victims were involved.

Alexander was ordained a permanent deacon on May 23, 2020, and was assigned to a five-year term at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, according to the diocesan Facebook page. He began his ministry path after being conferred as an acolyte in a ceremony at St. Anne Catholic Church in Youngsville on Oct. 12, 2019, per a diocesan release.

The allegations have been reported to law enforcement. The Shreveport Police Department is handling the case, Rolfes said.

“The Diocese is continuing to cooperate fully with law enforcement, and we urge anyone with any information on any cases of possible abuse to please come forward to local law enforcement authorities and to the Diocese,” she said in the statement.

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Permanent deacons are married or single men ordained to serve the Church by proclaiming the Gospel, preaching to the people, presiding at baptism, administering the Eucharist, and blessing marriages, according to the diocese.

Outside of his work with the church, Albert George Alexander III, known as Alec, is a Lafayette attorney specializing in healthcare and fraud, waste and abuse law. He’s a member of the Louisiana and Texas State Bar Associations and graduated from South Texas College of Law in 1996, per the associations’ membership directories.

Alexander is currently the managing director of the healthcare industry group at Alvarez and Marsal, a global professional services firm headquartered in New York City, and from 2017 to early 2021 served as the deputy administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and director of the agency’s Center for Program Integrity, per his LinkedIn and employment page with Alvarez and Marsal.

He previously worked as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana and was chief compliance officer for CHRISTUS Health Louisiana, a Catholic, nonprofit healthcare system.

Allegations of abuse in the Diocese of Lafayette are referred to the diocese’s Sexual Abuse Review Board, a diverse group of lay professionals including those with law enforcement, psychology and education backgrounds. The board assesses the allegations and can seek additional information before recommending to the bishop if the clergyman should be placed on administrative leave pending a final decision, a diocesan document said.

Email Katie Gagliano at kgagliano@theadvocate.com