The Lafayette Diocese has placed Deacon Shawn Jude Gautreaux on leave pending an investigation into an allegation of child sex abuse.
The alleged abuse occurred “many years” before Gautreaux’s ordination as a deacon, according to the diocese. There are no other known allegations against Gautreaux.
Gautreaux was ordained as a permanent deacon last year. He was assigned to St. Bernard Catholic Church in Breaux Bridge.
The diocese reported the allegation to St. Martin Parish law enforcement.
No other information is currently available.
A pending query to the diocese includes the following:
- Whether the alleged abuse occurred once or multiple times
- Age of the alleged victim
- Decade the alleged abuse occured
In 2019, the Lafayette Diocese released the names of clergymen — priests and deacons — accused of sexually abusing children and “vulnerable adults,” becoming the last Louisiana diocese to disclose the identities of those deemed to have been credibly accused.
Unlike other dioceses across the state and the country, Lafayette only released the priest's name, the year they were born, the date they were ordained, churches where they served and their current status.
The Lafayette Diocese is where the the first widely-known case of priest sexual abuse of minors became public in the 1980s, rocking the devout Catholic communities of South Louisiana and foreshadowing a widespread priest sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church.