Diocese of Lake Charles responds to lawsuit

The Diocese of Lake Charles released a short statement Friday following news of a lawsuit brought against it by a former parishioner.

The parishioner, named in the lawsuit only as “John Doe I,” claims to have been sexually abused while he was a young boy by former priest Mark Broussard during the late 1980s and early 1990s.

The lawsuit, which seeks $18 million in damages, lists as defendants the Diocese of Lake Charles, as well as its bishops; the Archdiocese of New Orleans, as well as its bishops; the Society of the Roman Catholic Church of the Diocese of Lake Charles; and Broussard.

“The Diocese of Lake Charles has been notified of a lawsuit filed against the Archdiocese of New Orleans, along with the Vatican, the Diocese of Lake Charles, and a former cleric who resigned from the Diocese approximately 20 years ago,” the statement read. “The Diocese of Lake Charles offers its prayers for healing and reconciliation to all parties involved.”

The lawsuit alleges that the church knew “prior to 1986” of complaints about Broussard.

Broussard is currently jailed on $3.4 million bond. He was indicted on 10 counts of child sexual abuse, combined from 224 original charges.

Both the lawyer representing the plaintiff and a director with the group Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests were in Lake Charles advocating for further action to be taken by officials.

Felicia Peavey, an attorney representing the alleged victim, said she would like to see local church officials investigated.

“I think there’s probably enough information in Broussard’s file that may lead to a criminal investigation of church officials,” she said. “I would encourage prosecutors to look into them. From where I’m sitting, it just seems as though there’s certainly, if not child endangerment, they should be able to eke out a case on obstruction of justice.”

Barbara Dorris, victims outreach director of SNAP, said she wants Lake Charles Bishop Glen Provost “to actively do outreach, to look for victims, to look for witnesses, to look for whistleblowers and tell them, ‘You have a moral, a civil obligation to go the police.’ ”

Provost was not bishop at the time of Broussard’s alleged crimes.