Claire Taylor, DAs will not investigate priest sex abuse allegations, The Advertiser

Claire Taylor, DAs will not investigate priest sex abuse allegations, The Advertiser (Aug. 12, 2014; 9:43am CDT),

Harson said if a victim comes forward willing to press charges, he would investigate and prosecute the case. Harson represents the 15th Judicial District that includes Lafayette, Acadia and Vermilion parishes.

But to investigate without a victim “would appear to be a fruitless endeavor,” he wrote in an email Monday.

“It could unnecessarily revisit their trauma and open wounds that they thought were long dealt with, all without their request or desire,” Harson wrote.

Taylor, District Attorney of the 27th Judicial District that includes St. Landry Parish, said the policy of his office is to prosecute, not to investigate.

“It would be up to the law enforcement agencies if they wanted to do an investigation, make an arrest,” Taylor said Monday. “If law enforcement sends us something, we will certainly prosecute it.”

The St. Landry Parish DA said he does not recall a complaint or inquiry made to his office regarding a priest. If he had received such a complaint, it would have been referred to the sheriff’s office to investigate, he said.

Two documents that came to light through the Minnesota Public Radio investigation are a 1992 statement from an alleged victim accusing the Rev. Gilbert Dutel of abusing him when he was a boy.

The second is a 1995 affidavit by Abbeville attorney Anthony Fontana stating he learned in 1987 of allegations against Dutel involving advances toward an adult man. Dutel allegedly was not suspended but was sent to a new parish. Fontana said Bishop Harry Flynn said Dutel was sent for treatment and returned “cured.”

Dutel, pastor at St. Edmond Catholic Church in Lafayette, says he is innocent. Jarrell said the diocese has no evidence of abuse or misconduct by Dutel, although it also has no report on the alleged investigation that occurred years ago.

Thirty to 40 years have passed since most of the alleged abuses occurred, Harson wrote Monday.

The statute of limitations for most child sex abuse crimes is 30 years from the victim’s 18th birthday. For crimes like rape, there is no statute of limitations.”

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