BREAUX BRIDGE, La. (KLFY) – A priest in Louisiana has been arrested for possessing over 500 images of child pornography, according to the Louisiana State Police.
Father Felix David Broussard, a priest at St. Bernard Roman Catholic Church in Breaux Bridge, was arrested today and booked into St. Martin Parish jail on 500 counts of pornography involving juveniles.
Parishioners in St. Bernard Parish in Breaux Bridge were stunned to hear their pastor was charged. Father Broussard had been the pastor of the church for two years.
Broussard was released on $25,000 bond, according to The Associated Press.
Bishop J. Douglas Deshotel of the Diocese of Lafayette said Broussard was “immediately” placed on administrative leave active priestly ministry.
Master Trooper Brooks David said the State Police’s Special Victims Unit received a complaint earlier this month alleging that a computer that Father Broussard had primary access to, contained images indicative of child pornography.
Bishop Douglas Deshotel said in a press conference earlier this evening, “My understanding from police I visited with was that the computer was brought in for repairs and the technician there as I think is state law they have a duty to report anything that is illegal.” He told KLFY that the diocese never heard a complaint against Father Broussard, “Only good letters from people who loved him in the parish. But you know this kind of illness hides itself in a person. We don’t know.”
During the course of the investigation, over 500 images of child pornography were identified on the computer, according to David.
In a statement, the Diocese said it “takes these allegations very seriously and is cooperating fully in every way possible with the investigation.”
The Diocese also said,
“Bishop Deshotel and staff are providing pastoral care to the congregation of Saint Bernard Parish in Breaux Bridge, and will preach at all Masses at Saint Bernard Parish this weekend. The prayers of the diocesan community are requested.”
Broussard was ordained to the Diocese of Lafayette on June 12, 1993, according to St. Bernard’s website.
Louisiana State Police said in a news release it will continue to “maintain working relationships with partner law enforcement agencies, individuals, and private entities statewide in an attempt to locate and arrest those individuals who commit crimes against children.”
Parishioners were shocked that something like this would happen in their congregation but they say they still faith in the good work of the church.
“If you need help, they help you. You come to church, they talk to you, they give you guidance, advice. For something like this to happen with a pastor like this, it’s heartbreaking. I just feel bad for the church and the community.” said Trailand Dartez.
Brandon Varisco tells us he doesn’t want the church to be defined by one person,
“I just don’t want this church to become a symbol of the acts of one person, if he’s guilty it’s disgusting and I don’t want our beautiful chucrh that we all love to be a representation in any way of one person’s horrible and I would call evil acts.”