The Diocese of Baton Rouge is expected on Thursday to release a list of priests who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse. Ahead of the release, The Advocate tracked every known allegation of abuse involving a Baton Rouge priest. Here's what we found.
A Baton Rouge bishop who sexually abused young men while he threatened to excommunicate Catholics who disobeyed church doctrine.
How many known priests have been accused of sexual abuse?
At least 15 priests who have served in the Diocese of Baton Rouge were accused of sexual abuse. Half were named when the Archdiocese of New Orleans released its list, two more were on a list of accused Jesuit priests and the remaining five have been the subject of civil suits or criminal charges involving sexual misconduct.
How many known victims are there?
Upward of 60 victims say they were abused by priests who spent time in Baton Rouge, though we may never know the full number. Two priests accused of abuse especially drove up the victim count. At least 30 people accused through lawsuits one Baton Rouge priest, Christopher Springer, of abuse. And a lawyer who represented people who said they were abused by Gerard "Jerry" Howell estimated Howell had 25 to 50 victims.
The second time Charles Bishop served as an altar boy at St. Pius X in Baton Rouge, he started to cry.
Outside of East Baton Rouge, what other parishes are affected or included in this list?
The Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge covers 12 parishes across 5,513 square miles. Priests accused of abuse were posted at churches and religious centers in Clinton, Convent, False River, Gonzales, Grosse Tete, Morganza, Plaquemine, Plattenville and elsewhere. In one case, a priest accused of abuse in Gonzales later worked at church parishes in Boston and Gatineau, Quebec.
When will the list come out and what will it contain?
The diocese will release a list on Thursday. Once the list comes out, we will know more about the parameters the diocese used to determine allegations of credible abuse against a minor, which has been debated in other dioceses that have released lists.
What prompted the Diocese of Baton Rouge to release this list?
Pressure has ramped up on Catholic dioceses across the nation since a Pennsylvania grand jury report was released in August 2018 that said the church hierarchy there protected more than 300 predator priests while more than 1,000 victims suffered. The report was released at the same time Shreveport Bishop Michael Duca became the bishop of Baton Rouge. Duca has made releasing the Diocese of Baton Rouge list one of his first major actions as its bishop. The Archdiocese of New Orleans and the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux have already released similar lists, and bishops across the state have pledged to release theirs as well.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge on Thursday will release the names of its clergy who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of m…