A civil lawsuit was filed by the family of a teenager who accused a Diocese of Lafayette priest of sexual assault, despite a church official’s threats to cut off counseling payments in the event of a lawsuit.
The alleged threat made by a church official is included one of the many new details that were released in the case, which originally surfaced in June. It began when the diocese made an announcement that they had received a complaint regarding Father Michael Guidry of St. Peter Catholic Church in Morrow. A week after the allegations were released, Guidry surrendered to the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office and confessed to molesting a 16-year-old altar boy in 2015.
Another new detail includes Guidry allegedly “pushing” alcohol on the victim on multiple occasions. The victim later struggled with an alcohol addiction, which strained his relationship with his family. The victim’s brother apparently told him two months ago that he believed the drinking was a coping mechanism after something bad happening, which prompted the victim to tell him about his assault.
The diocese chose not to comment on the litigation when they made a statement to the media on Monday, including the alleged threat about the counseling payments.
The diocese statement to the media states, “From the beginning, pastoral outreach and counseling has been offered to the victim and his family. At the time of the complaint, there had been no previous claims of any abuse concerning Father Guidry during his 47 years as a priest.”
Guidry, 75, befriended the victim’s father, who is an ordained deacon, about 5 years prior to the assault. Guidry began hiring the victim to do some of his household chores, at which time he served the boy alcohol while he worked. The lawsuit claims it was at this time that Guidry “started hugging (the victim), rubbing his stomach and keeping his hand on (the victim’s) back.”
According to the lawsuit, their relationship transitioned into nighttime visits, during which time Guidry increased the amount of alcohol he served to the victim under the guise that it was “their secret”. One night in April of 2015, Guidry pushed the victim to drink “pure gin” as they watched a movie. The victim passed out as a result of the excessive amount of alcohol he had been served.
The victim was woken up to find Guidry sexually assaulting him. When he confronted Guidry the following day, the priest promised him that he would never do it again. However, Guidry continued to attempt contact with the victim through calls and text messages. The lawsuit alleges that the victim tried to brush Guidry off and eventually stopped going to church altogether.
The lawsuit details, “(The victim) was fearful of telling anyone what had happened to him and he began to drink heavily, causing deep concern with his parents and older brother. It got to the point that every time they confronted him about his alcohol problem (the victim) would get mad and leave, all of which caused a breach in the close and loving relationship he and his family had before (Guidry) came into their lives.”
The lawsuit has been filed in the 27th Judicial District Court and is seeking unspecified damages.
Guidry was arrested in June on counts of molestation of a juvenile as well as contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile, and was placed on administrative leave, according to the diocese.
The allegations against Guidry coincide with information that one of priests incriminated in the Pennsylvania grand jury report on sexual abuse among several diocese also served in the Lafayette diocese. Father John Bostwick was transferred to the diocese in 1992, after he refused to get counseling. He transferred after the alleged abuse, but the reason for recommending him to counseling is unclear.
Bostwick, who came to Lafayette at the invitation of then-Bishop Harry Flynn, was immediately removed by Flynn’s successor in 1996 when the allegations surfaced, according to the diocese.
If you believe that your child has been the victim of sexual abuse, contact Thomas J. Henry. For over two decades, Thomas J. Henry has been an advocate for sexually abused children across the state of Texas. Our experienced child injury lawyers are available 24/7, nights and weekends to take your call. Contact us today for a free legal consultation.