NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Houma-Thibodeaux is the third diocese across South Louisiana to release a list of priests credibly accused of child sex abuse. Bishop Shelton Fabre released the list with 14 names on Jan. 11.
In the Houma-Thibodaux area, Allyce Himel said there was always rumors running throughout the Catholic schools about inappropriate behavior.
“There was a lot of talk about it, but nothing really was done,” she said.
She says now that there’s a list of 14 names released to the public of priests credibly accused of child sex abuse, she’s glad the truth is getting out there.
“It’s horrible. It’s horrible, and like we were saying glad their names are out because it should be known,” said Himel.
Of the 14 names, none are currently in ministry. Eight are still alive: Lawrence Cavell, Alexander Francisco, Etienne LeBlanc, Gerald Prinz, Gerard Kinane, Ramon Luce and Daniel Poche. The eighth living priest, Patrick Kujawa, is incarcerated.
The whereabouts of two other priests, Dac Nguyen and Carlos Melendez, are unknown.
FOX 8 tried to reach those on the list, either by phone or in person, but was unsuccessful.
Gerald Prinz is not a new name. He was also included on the Archdiocese of New Orleans' list of credibly accused released in November. According to our partners at NOLA.com | The Times Picayune, an anonymous plaintiff sued Prinz in 1995, claiming the priest abused him in the 1970s at St. Gregory Barbarigo Parish in Houma and St. Louis Parish in Bayou Blue.
When reached at his home, a man who identified himself as Prinz’s brother answered the door.
Reporter: "I was looking to get in touch with a Gerald Prinz?”
Reporter: “Hi, Mr. Prinz? I’m a reporter...”
Resident: “Lady you have to be crazy. You must be crazy. My brother’s got Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and you’re going to come here and bother us? You better get out of here.”
Bishop Shelton Fabre sat down for an interview with HTV out of Houma after releasing the list. He said he hopes the release of the names can help the victims and their families heal.
“From the bottom of my heart I express my true sorrow for what’s been perpetuated upon them the abuse of a child is abhorrent and evil and its even worse when its perpetuated with the sacred trust in the church… They certainly need to continue to love their family member they are sinners as we all are and I pray that as they talk about this with one another,” said Fabre.
In a letter Bishop Fabre released with the list, he outlined how the review board helped compile the list, and how he believes the church has changed in recent decades.
“Our children must be safe i firmly believe in my heart that these new procedures the laity need to be involved in anything that we do because our labor has been of value to me if anything i tell them we have got to get right is time for us to get it right,” said Fabre.
Because in order for people, not only the victims, but the families involved to heal, he says transparency is key.
Bishop Fabre says they are starting psych evaluations for those entering their seminary. The diocese will also hold listening sessions within the community for anyone who wants to voice their concerns, and encourages anyone seeking counseling to contact the church.