Tag: Diocese of Alexandria

Lousiana clergy sexual abuse

Attention to Clergy Sexual Abuse Began in Louisiana in 1983

Do you think the Catholic clergy sexual abuse and cover up crisis started in Boston in 2002? Think again.  It really started much earlier, in 1983 in fact, down in Louisiana.

And now – finally, thankfully – there’s a new Louisiana law that may benefit some of those very first clergy abuse survivors who stepped forward, long before the pubic had even heard the phrase ‘pedophile priest.’

Many of those brave pioneers were victims of Fr. Gilbert Gauthe, the first U.S. priest to generate nationwide headlines due to his stunning crimes against kids.


His victims started filing abuse reports in the early and mid-1980s, eventually leading to Fr. Gauthe’s 1985 conviction on charges of molesting at least 39 boys, mostly in the Lafayette diocese.

Imagine, for a moment, what they endured. Horrific childhood sexual trauma, inflicted by a so-called “man of God,” who represented Jesus, who could forgive their sins and help them attain eternal life in heaven where they would be surrounded by family and friends. And again, all this back in the day when the sexual violation of kids was literally unspeakable and when virtually no one heard, thought or talked about child sex crimes committed and concealed by men of the cloth.

And now, decades later, some of those very same victims – along with perhaps hundreds or thousands of others hurt in institutions (churches, schools, camps, day care centers and the like) – FINALLY have a real shot at justice.

Why? Because Louisiana lawmakers joined the movement towards greater protection of the vulnerable and greater justice for the wounded, by enacting a civil window which enable them to have their day in court and expose those who committed or concealed (or ARE committing and concealing) the most heinous crime possible against children: child sexual abuse.

It’s hard for victims to come forward now, even after the on-going clergy sex abuse crisis has been widely publicized for decades. Imagine, if you can, just how much harder it was for Fr. Gauthe’s victims to step forward decades ago.

And of course in the intervening decades, countless other boys and girls have been traumatized by sick clerics pursuing their own sexual gratification under the guise of administering sacraments and teaching religion and offering guidance to often struggling youngsters. They too, for the most part, have been frozen out of the justice system due to archaic, arbitrary and predator-friendly statutes of limitations, statutes that are now temporarily suspended, allowing those who are suffering in shame, silence and self-blame to step into the light, and the courtroom, to publicly ‘out’ criminals who have evaded detection for years.

It’s one heck of an opportunity. And a long overdue one.

The law extends to molesters and enablers in all kinds of workplaces. And to get an idea of just how widespread abuse is in Louisiana, consider just how many proven, admitted and credibly accused abusers are already publicly exposed in just one such workplace: the state’s Catholic seven dioceses.

According to the widely-respected and extraordinarily accurate website BishopAccountability.org, here are the numbers of publicly accused child molesters across the state, diocese by diocese:

New Orleans 95

Houma-Thibodaux 12

Baton Rouge 21

Lafayette 48

Alexandria 29

Lake Charles 6

Shreveport 1

So throw in other denominations and schools and music programs and athletic leagues and Scouting programs and ballet classes and tutoring arrangement and library reading clubs and chess trainers. . . well, you get the idea: many deeply wounded adults, who were hurt in these settings – now have both the chance to help themselves AND protect others by using the time-tested, open, imperfect but best-in-the-world court system.

Finally, if you’re wondering whatever became of Fr. Gauthe, that now-notorious predator, keep reading.

He eventually served ten years in prison and was sued multiple times. In 1997, he pled ‘no contest’ to abusing a three-year-old boy in Texas and was given seven years’ probation. That same year, he was charged with raping a young girl at gunpoint and was jailed for two years until those charges were dropped.

As of 2008, he was living near Houston. In 2008, he was arrested for failing to register as sex offender and served two years in jail, winning release in 2010. In 2014, he was living in San Leon, Texas.



Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims of clergy sexual abuse in Louisiana.  Our lawyers offer free and confidential legal consultations to discuss your legal options as a survivor of sexual abuse by priests and other employees of the Catholic Church.


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Louisiana Becomes the Latest State to Open Courts to Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse

New Louisiana Sexual Abuse Statute of Limitations Gives Survivors of Abuse More Legal Options Starting Today

On June 15, 2021, the State of Louisiana became the latest in the wave of states to pass an extension to the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse cases.

In a landmark move, Louisiana lawmakers eliminated the time period for filing a lawsuit in future cases of abuse, and also created a three-year window for those abused in the past to file lawsuits too. Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the bill on Monday. 

For three years, beginning immediately, anyone sexually abused in Louisiana can file lawsuits against those responsible for their child sexual abuse, including the perpetrators and their employers.  

“The scars of childhood sexual abuse may stay with survivors long-term and they deserve more time to report these devastating crimes,” Gov. Edwards’ spokesperson Christina Stephens said.  

“We commend Louisiana lawmakers for recognizing that sexual abuse causes shame, embarrassment, fear, and guilt that many survivors carry well into their adulthood – and that keeps them suffering in silence for decades,” Adam Horowitz, the managing partner of Horowitz Law says of the new law.  “We are seeing a wave of new legislation across America as more and more survivors come forward to demand access to courts to hold those responsible for their nightmare accountable. We can add Louisiana to the list of states that are getting it right.”

The lawyers of Horowitz Law have represented victims and survivors of sexual abuse for more than 20 years.  If you were sexually abused in Louisiana, contact us now to discuss your legal options. 

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in Louisiana.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused as a child in Louisiana, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those sexually abused in Louisiana now have legal options, but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us.  Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of childhood sexual abuse in Louisiana and nationwide.  We can help. 

Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.