Ruth Institute praises judge in clergy sex abuse case, calls on Church to laicize offending priest.
The Third Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld Fr. Michael Guidry’s conviction and 10-year sentence for child molestation handed down in 2019.
Ruth Institute Founder and President Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., stated:
“We applaud the decision to deny Fr. Guidry’s motion to reduce his sentence. The Appeals Court rightly rejected all of his specious arguments for leniency. As advocates for victims of clerical sexual abuse, and for reform in the Catholic Church, the Ruth Institute is heartened by this decision.”
Fr. Guidry, a priest of the Diocese of Lafayette, Louisiana, pled guilty to child molestation in March 2019. His victim was a 16-year-old son of a deacon who served with Fr. Guidry on the altar. Guidry was also a close family friend, making the betrayal of trust all the more egregious.
The Ruth Institute, based in nearby Lake Charles, Louisiana, has been following the case closely. Morse interviewed the victim’s parents in June 2019, when the matter first became public.
“This interview opened my eyes to how predators ‘groom’ their victims, sometimes over a long period,” Morse explained.
“The appeals court ruling describes how Fr. Guidry repeatedly gave alcohol to his teenage victim. Everyone should be aware of how ‘grooming’ works, so they can be on the lookout for it.”
Morse said she wished to correct one part of local Lafayette news station, KATC News’ report of the case, which called Guidry a “former St. Landry Parish priest.”
“Regrettably, Fr. Guidry is not a ‘former priest.’” Morse said.
“He is still a priest, though no longer in active ministry. To the best of my knowledge, there has been no move to laicize him.”
Laicization is the formal term under Roman Catholic Canon Law for removing a man from the clerical state. In other words, make him no longer a priest.
“We are pleased that the civil authorities have done justice in Fr. Guidry’s case. We now call on the Church authorities to likewise do the right thing. On behalf of the Ruth Institute and our worldwide coalition of activists and leaders, we call upon Bishop Douglas Deshotel of Lafayette to begin the process of laicizing Fr. Guidry.”
[Photo: Leslie Westbrook, The Advocate]