BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -
UPDATE - FEB. 27
The Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge has named two more former clergy members who are accused of sexually abusing minors.
In this case, the two priests are accused of abuse that occurred when they were not serving in the area of Baton Rouge.
Father Barry Finbar Coyle OFM and Father John Hardman SSJ have been publicly identified by other dioceses or institutes of consecrated life.
Father Coyle, who was ordained in 1958 and is now deceased had allegations reported against him in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, New Mexico.
He served at St. Jean Vianney Church in Baton Rouge, was in residence at St. Aloysius Church in Baton Rouge and served as chaplain at Doctors Memorial Hospital, Earl K. Long Hospital and Parkland Pavillion, all in Baton Rouge.
Father Hardman, who is deceased, was ordained in 1944 and had allegations reported against him in the Archdiocese of Mobile, Alabama.
He was in residence at St. Catherine of Siena Church in Donaldsonville.
UPDATE - FEB. 8
Another name has been added to the Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge’s list of clergy members accused of sexually abusing minors.
The diocese released the updated list Friday, Feb. 8. It includes a new name, one that was released in a report from the Diocese of Little Rock in September of 2018. The Baton Rouge diocese was reportedly not notified he had served in Louisiana.
Timothy Sugrue reportedly left Baton Rouge in 1987. The Baton Rouge diocese says they have no record of a credible allegation against him while he served in Baton Rouge, but that since he’s listed on the report from Little Rock, his name has been added to their list.
The diocese also noted another change to the list in which an individual accused was misidentified.
“The change involves Myles Joseph Kearney, whose is name No. 17 under Section A of our list. Two individuals named Myles Joseph Kearney served the Diocese of Baton Rouge. The allegation listed is NOT against the Fr. Kearney who was ordained in 1938 and served at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in St. Francisville. In addition, the Myles Joseph Kearney on our list served as a transitional deacon at St. George Parish in Baton Rouge, and he did not serve at Ascension of Our Lord Parish in Donaldsonville as had previously been reported. (Note: Prior to their ordination to the priesthood, seminarians are ordained to the diaconate. This diaconate is usually called the “transitional diaconate” because it is conferred in anticipation that the man will be ordained to the priesthood. Men who are not anticipating ordination to the priesthood are also ordained as deacons. They are generally called 'permanent’ deacons. There are no permanent deacons on our diocesan list.)”
The Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge named 37 clergy members who have faced credible accusations of sexual abuse involving children while serving in the diocese since its inception in 1961.
Bishop Michael Duca spoke to the media for over 30 minutes Thursday afternoon, naming the accused clergy members and explaining what the next steps are for the accused and their victims.
“This is not easy. No words to express the depth of shame,” Bishop Duca said before reading off the list of names of the accused.
The diocese named 24 clergy members that have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors:
John Berube, Clarence J Biggers, Daniel P Brady, Carmelo I Camenzuli, David W Chaloux, David J Clark, James P Clement, John Coyne, Daniel M Drinan, Bryan J Fontenot, James Funnel, George D Gensler, Antonio Gonzales, Bryan K Gray, Rodrigue A Hemond, Gerard J Howell, Myles J Kearney, Clyde B Landry, Daniel P Lemoine, Nicholas J Martrain, Salvador N (Butch) Moran, Jesse R Ortego, Christopher J Springer, and Joseph V Sullivan
“This is a dynamic list we will continue to update it as information comes in and add names if they arise in the future or if new information comes forward,” Bishop Duca said.
Duca said the diocese will offer counseling for victims. The phone number for the Diocesan 24-hour sexual abuse hotline is 225-242-0250.
“We journey with them if they wish us to journey with them,” he said.
The other 13 allegations result from clergy members that were either from another dioceses that was originally New Orleans or clergy members that had connections to the Baton Rouge area, but are not accused of impropriety in the Baton Rouge area.
Accused clergy members from the region that were once considered part of the New Orleans Diocese include Pierre C Cambiaire, John Franklin, Michael Hurley, Ralph Lawrence, Malcolm Strassel, and Lawrence Hecker.
Accused clergy members with ties to Baton Rouge, but who are not accused of abuse in Baton Rouge include Jody Blanchard, Thomas Naughton, C Richard Nowery, and Joseph Pelletieri.
The accused priests who are still alive were notified their names would be on the list.
Brennan Tomeny claims to have been abused in the 70s and 80s in Baton Rouge by one of the priests on the list.
“As long as it’s public and not hidden to people. As long as the issues that are facing the church are not hidden and not just getting over it and waiting til the next one comes along, that’s a happy time," said Tomeny after hearing Thursday’s press conference.
Bishop Michael Duca told reporters Thursday, Jan. 31 all of the cases have been turned over to Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore, regardless of whether the accused clergy member is now deceased or not.
DA Hillar Moore’s Office released a statement Thursday afternoon saying:
“You can get past it. It’s not easy. If you want the easy way out, sit in your room and do nothing and be miserable. If you want to get over it, get therapy,” Tomeny said. “Everyone says, ‘When’s it going to go away?’ and it’s never. Sometimes, other things happen that cause new things to come up, so it’s a continual process.”
Tomeny says dispute being abused, he still attends church.
“I’ve had some moving things happen in my life and I can’t attribute it to anything but God," he said. “I know where I need to be and I need to be in church every Sunday and a part of the church, helping it get better and not condemning it for everything wrong. There are good parts to it. There are good things that happen.”
The following statements will be read at all Sunday masses at St. Aloysius Parish and St. Thomas More Parish:
The independent review of allegations was announced Nov. 10 in a letter issued on behalf of the diocese and Bishop Michael Duca.
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