Diocese of Lake Charles listed in lawsuit over alleged sexual abuse

By By Johnathan Manning / American Press

A lawsuit filed in federal court claims that former priest Mark Broussard admitted to sexually abusing young boys in 1998.

The lawsuit, filed by one of Mark Broussard’s alleged victims, seeks $18 million in damages from the Catholic Church, the Diocese of Lake Charles and the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in New Orleans in January. A copy of it was provided to the American Press by one of the plaintiff’s lawyers, Felicia Peavey, who was in Lake Charles Thursday.

The lawsuit also lists as defendants: Lake Charles Bishop Glen Provost and New Orleans Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond, as well as their predecessors and successors; the Holy See and the Society of the Roman Catholic Church of the Diocese of Lake Charles.

The lawsuit claims that Broussard’s confession was found by law enforcement in his personnel file. It says that Broussard confessed to molesting the plaintiff “and other children.”

The plaintiff, listed as “John Doe,” is seeking $6 million for mental and physical pain and suffering and $12 million in exemplary damages.

The American Press’ attempts to contact the Diocese of Lake Charles late Thursday were unsuccessful.

Broussard, 56, was indicted on 10 counts of child sexual abuse, combined from 224 original charges.

Calcasieu Parish authorities have said that between 1986 and 1991, while a priest at Our Lady Queen of Heaven and at St. Henry Catholic Church, Broussard sexually molested three boys.

The lawsuit alleges that between 1984 and 1986, while Broussard was a candidate to the priesthood, he “raped and molested and sexually abused and exploited Catholic parishioners and others, specifically male children.”

The plaintiff claims that Broussard molested him during his pre-adolescent years “on a daily basis” from 1985 to 1988 in Broussard’s living quarters at OLQH, as well as other locations.

He also claims that Broussard molested him in 1992 in the rectory at St. Eugene’s Catholic Church in Grand Chenier, where Broussard was transferred in 1988.

Broussard often had minor boys stay overnight with him, the lawsuit claims.

The plaintiff claims he was so traumatized that he developed a memory block of the incidents until March 2012 when the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office contacted him.

The lawsuit claims the church knew “prior to 1986 and in 1986” of complaints about Broussard. Both dioceses failed to report the allegations of sexual abuse of children to law enforcement, the lawsuit states.

The church “knew or should have known of Broussard’s dangerous sexual propensities, yet the Archdiocese defendants did nothing to terminate Broussard’s authority and power as a Roman Catholic Cleric and the Diocese Defendants did nothing to remove Broussard from a position with access to minor boys or to control Broussard’s access to the minor boys he sexually abused,” the lawsuit reads.

It claims that the Lake Charles and New Orleans Dioceses’ failure to act was part of a greater “policy of secrecy” by the Roman Catholic Church.

A lawsuit represents one side of a dispute between two parties.