LAWTELL, Louisiana (KLFY) – A law that came into effect this summer now gives adults who were abused as children, up to three years to sue accused offenders and any child abused since the date of entry into force of the new law, has no time restrictions.
The timing of the change in legislation (rs 9: 2800.9 under domestic bill 492) coincides with three men from St. Landry Parish calling for the closure of what they say is years of abuse by a priest of a Catholic church where they served as altar boys.
Lawtell, Louisiana, is a small rural community in the parish of St Landry and has just over 1,200 people. It was formed at the start of the 20th century, so it’s steeped in history, it’s peaceful, but there is also a dark secret that has been hidden until now.
Describing what happened to him, Mark Batiste says: “As a child, I was scared. When I told my mom what happened for the first time, I thought she wouldn’t believe me. Batiste, his brother and another reveal allegations of sexual abuse by a priest, Fr. James Queren, who was pastor of this church in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Batiste recounts: “I had too much. afraid to enter the house. I didn’t want my parents to know that. My father always told us that the priest was next to God. The backyard of their house has a door that gives them access to the priest’s house just 200 meters away. Their parents weren’t worried about their safety, but they couldn’t have been more wrong.
Mother batiste, Elma, said, “Like everything was fine, but it wasn’t. He did things with my kids and that’s why he came here regularly to try to cover it up.
Batiste said of the priest: “He used Jonathan to recruit other boys from the neighborhood and the things he did with us, he called it wrestling, it was a form of wrestling and he made the guys do it. mutually.”
Another alleged victim who wanted to remain anonymous for our report says she left the Catholic faith because of what happened. He recounted some of the alleged events saying, “Maybe eight to ten guys were there, so it was good to come in. He fed us, gave us candy and played. It was good times and then night came, and he was taking a few guys in the back to sleep and I was one of them and he did some pretty tough things to us in the back.
Mark’s brother Jonathan said, “When the priest separated us, I was in one domain, Mark was in another domain and we didn’t have that part of the relationship where we were just together, though. we were together… in a way. like that. We were all in the same room, but we were apart and we had a terrible relationship and I’m grateful today because you know, we have a couple, about a year or so, we come together to praise the Lord.
Jonathan said his relationship with his brother had been strained for nearly 40 years because of what had happened in that house and that they are now joining together to shed light on the allegations.
In 2018, Mark and his mother filed a complaint with the Diocese of Lafayette against the priest Joséphite. Mark said they had received an acknowledgment of their complaint in an email from the diocese and had not heard from anyone since. Mom Elma said, “The bishop was supposed to call me too because they were going to call the Josephites and I have his card, I keep it in my wallet, but he never called me.
A law that came into effect this summer now gives adults who were abused as children up to three years to bring legal action against accused offenders and any abused children since the new law came into force. , has no time limit.
These three men say the timing couldn’t be better. Mark says, “They (the diocese) knew what he was doing because they moved him from Lawtell to New Orleans. he even asked my family to take me to New Orleans… that’s something that shouldn’t happen to anyone.
We contacted the Diocese of Lafayette and they responded immediately.
Officials told News 10 they were preparing a response.