October 25, 2012 Comments Off on Boy Scouts and Catholic Church were inclined to silence on abuse
Boy Scouts and Catholic Church were inclined to silence on abuse: James Gill
By James Gill, NOLA.com The Times-Picayune
October 24, 2012
After Catholic priest Gilbert Gauthe was found to be a child molester in 1974, then-Lafayette Bishop Gerard Frey decided a change was in order. So the next year, Gauthe was assigned extra duties. He became chaplain of the diocesan Boy Scouts. Any pedophile would have whooped, and Gauthe took full advantage….
Louisiana always figured prominently in the scandals that engulfed both institutions nationwide. Gauthe was the first to be unmasked in the endless succession of predatory priests who enjoyed years of episcopal protection. After Gauthe pleaded guilty in 1985, and was sentenced to 20 years in the state pen, Rev. Kenneth Doyle, spokesman for the U.S. Catholic Conference in Washington, said: “We don’t want to give the impression that it’s a rampant problem for the church, because it’s not.”
Then, New Orleans journalist Jason Berry, who covered the case, wrote a book predicting years of turmoil and multimillion-dollar court judgments against the church….
In 1976, four adult Scout leaders were arrested in New Orleans for running a troop where underprivileged boys were recruited for sexual exploitation. It was the movement’s first high-profile sex scandal in America. “Louisiana always figured prominently in the scandals that engulfed both institutions nationwide.”
The Scout leaders — Raymond Woodall, Richard Stanley Halvorsen, Harry Cramer and Lewis Sialle — were all sentenced to prison in 1977. At the same time parents of Gauthe’s victims found out what he was up to, and filed complaints with diocesan officials. Frey, in what we were soon to discover was the standard response of the church throughout the country, merely moved Gauthe to another parish, where he continued his unholy ministry until he was suspended in 1983 after aggrieved parents filed a lawsuit….
He (Gauthe) had no known connection, however, with New Orleans Troop 137, which hit the national headlines while he was preying on the youth of Lafayette. What was known at the time as the “Boy Scout sex case,” netted 17 arrests, and Troop 137 was identified at the trial of its leaders as “the nucleus of a nationwide sex and pornography ring, with boys recruited into the troop sent to other states for the pleasure of men there.” Troop leaders would recruit underprivileged boys and ply them with gifts so they could be prepared for sleepovers and naked pool parties.