In a news conference Monday, Bishop J. Douglas Deshotel addressed sexual abuse allegations made by a woman against Msgr. Robie Robichaux, claiming he abused her starting in 1979 when she was 16-years-old. Monsignor Robichaux has been placed on administrative leave for allegedly sexually abusing her from 1979 to 1981.
Deshotel says he only learned of the accusation last month.
"I acted as quickly as possible in accordance with respect for justice and at the same time, concern for the person who brought the complaint to our attention," said Deshotel.Robichaux has also been removed from position as Judicial Vicar.
Deshotel admits the victim first brought her claims to the Lafayette Diocese in 1994 and again in 2004, after a zero-tolerance policy went into effect in 2002. But Deshotel says he was first made aware of the accusations on September 18th.
"I am deeply sorry that this happened to any child of God who has been abused by a priest, this is the opposite of what a priest should be in the lives of God's people," said Deshotel.
Deshotel says when the victim came forward in 2004, the Bishop at the time, Michael Jarrell, requested a ruling from the “Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith”, who said since since the victim was 16-to-17 years old, she was an adult under Canon Law. But Deshotel says state law would have considered her minor.
"The matter also should have been referred to the lay person's sexual abuse review board, which was standard practice at the time, according to the charter and the norms, to advise him whether or not if Msgr. Robichaux should be suitable for ministry."
In the video below, Bishop Deshotel discusses the investigation into the allegations, announces Robichaux has been removed from his position as Judicial Vicar, and thanks the woman for coming forward with her accusations.