The administration of the Diocese of Lake Charles wishes to comment on an article appearing in the headlines of the Tuesday, July 23, edition of the American Press, entitled “Lack of transparency: Reports contradict Diocese’s listed abuse dates.” On April 11, 2019, the Diocese of Lake Charles published a List of Credibly Accused Clergy in order to assist victims and exhibit transparency. The diocese opened personnel files to an independent Review Board comprised of legal and judicial professionals. As part of their process, the Board determined the qualifications for credible accusations according to applicable law and then composed the list.
Diocesan authorities met in an interview on July 11, 2019 with the Advocate’s reporter to answer his questions. A transcript of this interview exists for the record and verification. In hopes of further transparency, the Diocese brought the reporter’s questions to the independent Review Board. After a subsequent meeting, the Review Board stands by the accuracy of its list as published in April of 2019.
We maintain that the list is both accurate and thorough. Regarding information concerning Gerard Smit and Mark Broussard, the Diocese provided all files to civil authorities and cooperated fully with their investigations. The files in question are a matter of public record and have been reviewed over several years by investigators, legal counsels, and civil authorities.
The Diocese of Lake Charles, as always, remains in full cooperation with civil authorities and welcomes any further information to enhance the accuracy of the list. If additional information can be provided concerning abuse by a cleric, then the victim or victim’s advocate is urged to contact the Diocese of Lake Charles’ Vicar General as soon as possible.