Saturday, June 25, 2005

More symptoms of a society in crisis

Louisiana minister, followers indicted
7 charged with rape in sexual abuse of children, animals
08:12 PM CDT on Friday, June 24, 2005
Associated Press
AMITE, La. – A minister and six of his followers, including a former sheriff's deputy, were charged Thursday with aggravated rape in a case that has included accusations that children and animals were sexually abused.
A grand jury indicted Louis Lamonica, 45, who was the pastor of Hosanna Church in Ponchatoula, on six counts of rape.
Four counts each were brought against former Tangipahoa Parish sheriff's deputy Christopher Blair Labat, 24; Allen R. Pierson, 46, who lived in an apartment on the church complex; church member Paul Fontenot; and Austin Bernard, 36, whose wife, Nicole, first exposed the allegations.
Mr. Pierson's wife, Patricia, 54, and Mr. Lamonica's wife, Robbin, were charged on two counts each.
Authorities have said witnesses described the use of robes, pentagrams on the church floor, sex with a dog and the sacrifice of cats. The alleged victims, suspected to number up to two dozen, range from infants to young teens.
Investigators believe the abuse began in 1999 and continued until the church closed in 2003. But it was not until Mrs. Bernard called in April, saying she had fled to Ohio to protect her child, that police had any idea of what was happening, officials say.
About the same time, Mr. Lamonica walked into the sheriff's office in neighboring Livingston Parish and gave detailed descriptions of church activities, officials say.

Our Lady of La Salette: Pray for us.

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