We usually complain when a Catholic priest accused of sexual abuse is transferred to a different church or quietly hidden out of sight.
But in the case of Rev. Gilbert Dutel (below), he is still the pastor of St. Edmond Catholic Church in Lafayette, Louisiana and no one there seems to care.
In the case of Dutel, the documents show, the allegations weren’t limited to young adults. Dutel had also been accused of sexually abusing a child. In an interview with a lawyer in 1992, the alleged victim said Dutel had abused him in the 1970s, starting when he was 9 years old.
Still, Flynn kept Dutel in ministry. No records exist of any reports to police.
Dutel, 69, now serves as the pastor of St. Edmond Catholic Church in Lafayette. Over the 22 years since his accuser came forward, Dutel has worked in elementary and high schools and served in several parishes. There’s even a playground named after him.
After Minnesota Public Radio exposed allegations against Dutel, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) asked the Diocese of Lafayette to suspend him. Of course, they didn’t do that, saying Dutel was still a priest in “good standing.”
Dutel maintains his innocence and argues that an investigation — conducted by the Catholic diocese — found the allegations to be “not credible.” The diocese refused to release details of that investigation (including the final report) to The Daily Advertiser.
Despite what Dutel says, the same victim accused two other priests of also molesting him. One of them was found guilty and convicted of statutory rape. Another left the priesthood, got married, and committed suicide after his other victims confronted his wife about his past.
If you read the comments on the Advertiser‘s website, people are criticizing the journalist for making a big deal out of this. They maintain that Dutel is a great guy… which obviously has nothing to do with what he may or may not have done decades ago.