Accused priest list from diocese where abuse 1st made public

State Sen. Katie Muth, D-Montgomery, center left, embraces Carolyn Fortney, who was sexually abused as a child by a Roman Catholic Priest, during a news conference at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa., Wednesday, April 10, 2019. (AP)
Updated 13 April 2019

Accused priest list from diocese where abuse 1st made public

  • At least three names were on another list released Thursday by the neighboring Lake Charles diocese, which was part of the Lafayette diocese until 1980

NEW ORLEANS: The US Catholic diocese where the first widely reported case of clergy sex abuse became public in the 1980s released a list Friday of 33 priests and four deacons credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor or vulnerable adult.
The list released by Bishop Douglas Deshotels of Louisiana’s Diocese of Lafayette identifies three priests who were convicted or pleaded guilty but did not indicate where any of the 37 was accused, let alone give details of the accusations.
It gives each man’s birth and ordainment year, assignments, and his status, such as whether he was removed from the clergy, resigned or both. Three were removed last year.
Unlike bishops in some other dioceses, Deshotels did not release the names of people in religious orders who were accused while working in the diocese. He wrote in a pastoral letter released Wednesday that any such disclosures are up to the orders.
The Lafayette diocese employed Gilbert Gauthe (goh-THAY), who pleaded guilty in 1985 to abusing 11 boys but testified that he had abused 35 youngsters while serving at four churches. Gauthe himself was named on the list as one of two priests who both resigned and were removed from the priesthood in 1983.
“In 1984,” Deshotels wrote, “the Diocese of Lafayette was plunged into the heart of a terrible darkness when, for the first time, publicly, the Catholic Church was confronted with the harsh reality that men consecrated for God’s work had betrayed their sacred trust.”
But the list made it clear that private confrontation came much earlier. The earliest dates are for Cornelius Van Merrianboer, a priest who was born in 1898, ordained in 1924, resigned in 1933 and died in 1960.
Other credibly accused priests resigned in 1968, 1973 and 1978; two died in 1970 and 1977; and two retired in 1979 and 1982.
One was removed in 2016, the year Deshotels began leading the diocese, and three in 2018.
At least three names also were among 12 released Thursday by the Diocese of Lake Charles, which was part of the Lafayette diocese until 1980.
That apparently brings the number of credibly accused priests in Louisiana to 185.
The Archdiocese of New Orleans described 57 cases in November. The Diocese of Baton Rouge has reported 41, the Diocese of Alexandria 27, and the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux, 14.
The Times of Shreveport reported in February that 17 names on the Alexandria list had ties to north Louisiana, but the Shreveport diocese had not received any allegations of abuse by a bishop, priest or deacon since being carved out of the Diocese of Alexandria in 1986.
Deshotels’ letter noted that some people who have accused priests or deacons may not find those names on the list.
“Be assured that your report was treated with the utmost seriousness and respect, but the standard for establishing credibility may not yet have been met,” he wrote. “If you, or anyone, has further knowledge which would establish credibility, we implore you to please come forward to civil authorities” and then the diocese.
“We have come to believe that involving law enforcement at the outset of an allegation is the prudent thing to do,” Deshotels wrote.
He also encouraged anyone who has been abused as a minor or vulnerable adult but has not reported it to come forward.


Biden expected to nominate Blinken as secretary of state

Updated 23 November 2020

Biden expected to nominate Blinken as secretary of state

  • Antony Blinken, 58, served as deputy secretary of state and deputy national security adviser during the Obama administration and has close ties with Biden
  • Biden has pledged to build the most diverse government in modern history, and he and his team often speak about their desire for his administration to reflect America

WASHINGTON: President-elect Joe Biden is expected to nominate Antony Blinken as secretary of state, according to multiple people familiar with the Biden team’s planning.
Blinken, 58, served as deputy secretary of state and deputy national security adviser during the Obama administration and has close ties with Biden. If nominated and confirmed, he would be a leading force in the incoming administration’s bid to reframe the US relationship with the rest of the world after four years in which President Donald Trump questioned longtime alliances.
In nominating Blinken, Biden would sidestep potentially thorny issues that could have affected Senate confirmation for two other candidates on his short list to be America’s top diplomat: Susan Rice and Sen. Chris Coons.
Rice would have faced significant GOP opposition and likely rejection in the Senate. She has long been a target of Republicans, including for statements she made after the deadly 2012 attacks on Americans in Benghazi, Libya.
Coons, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, lacked the granular experience in managing day-to-day foreign policy issues that Blinken would bring to the job.
Biden is likely to name his Cabinet picks in tranches, with groups of nominees focused on a specific top area, like the economy, national security or public health, being announced at once. Advisers to the president-elect’s transition have said they’ll make their first Cabinet announcements on Tuesday.
If Biden focuses on national security that day, Michèle Flournoy, a veteran of Pentagon policy jobs, is a top choice to lead the Defense Department. Jake Sullivan, a longtime adviser to Biden and Hillary Clinton, is also in the mix for a top job, including White House national security adviser.
For his part, Blinken recently participated in a national security briefing with Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and has weighed in publicly on notable foreign policy issues in Egypt and Ethiopia.
Biden’s secretary of state would inherit a deeply demoralized and depleted career workforce at the State Department. Trump’s two secretaries of state, Rex Tillerson and Mike Pompeo, offered weak resistance to the administration’s attempts to gut the agency, which were thwarted only by congressional intervention.
Although the department escaped massive proposed cuts of more than 30% in its budget for three consecutive years, it has seen a significant number of departures from its senior and rising mid-level ranks, from which many diplomats have opted to retire or leave the foreign service given limited prospects for advancements under an administration that they believe does not value their expertise.
A graduate of Harvard University and Columbia Law School and a longtime Democratic foreign policy presence, Blinken has aligned himself with numerous former senior national security officials who have called for a major reinvestment in American diplomacy and renewed emphasis on global engagement.
“Democracy is in retreat around the world, and unfortunately it’s also in retreat at home because of the president taking a two-by-four to its institutions, its values and its people every day,” Blinken told The Associated Press in September. “Our friends know that Joe Biden knows who they are. So do our adversaries. That difference would be felt on day one.”
Blinken served on the National Security Council during the Clinton administration before becoming staff director for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when Biden was chair of the panel. In the early years of the Obama administration, Blinken returned to the NSC and was then-Vice President Biden’s national security adviser before he moved to the State Department to serve as deputy to Secretary of State John Kerry.
Biden also is expected to tap longtime diplomat Linda Thomas-Greenfield as the US ambassador to the United Nations.
Biden has pledged to build the most diverse government in modern history, and he and his team often speak about their desire for his administration to reflect America. He is being watched to see whether he will make history by nominating the first woman to lead the Pentagon, the Treasury Department or the Department of Veterans Affairs or the first African American at the top of the Defense Department, the Interior Department or the Treasury Department.
Ron Klain, Biden’s incoming chief of staff, said Sunday the Trump administration’s refusal to clear the way for Biden’s team to have access to key information about agencies and federal dollars for the transition is taking its toll on planning, including the Cabinet selection process. Trump’s General Services Administration has yet to acknowledge that Biden won the election — a determination that would remove those roadblocks.
“We’re not in a position to get background checks on Cabinet nominees. And so there are definite impacts. Those impacts escalate every day,” Klain told ABC’s “This Week.”
Even some Republicans have broken with Trump in recent days and called on him to begin the transition. Joining the growing list were Sens. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. Former Republican Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, a longtime Trump supporter, told ABC that it was time for the president to stop contesting the outcome and called Trump’s legal team seeking to overturn the election a “national embarrassment.”
Meanwhile, planning was underway for a pandemic-modified inauguration Jan. 20. Klain said the Biden team was consulting with Democratic leadership in the House and the Senate over their plans.
“They’re going to try to have an inauguration that honors the importance and the symbolic meaning of the moment, but also does not result in the spread of the disease. That’s our goal,” Klain said.