Leslie Turk

Former priest Gauthe arrested again in Texas

by Leslie Turk

Former priest Gilbert Gauthe, who pleaded guilty in 1985 to sexually abusing 11 boys in Louisiana in a pedophilia scandal that rocked the country and the Catholic Church, was arrested in Texas Wednesday, accused of violating that state's sex offender registration law. Gauthe was still in jail yesterday.

Gauthe served 10 years of a 20-year-sentence for molesting boys in local parishes while a Diocese of Lafayette priest. He was again arrested in Texas in 1996 for sexual abuse of a 3-year-old. Bond for the 63-year-old was set at $200,000 after his arrest Wednesday at the Galveston Island State Park.

Gauthe had been living in the Houston suburb of La Marque as an unregistered sex offender because of a loophole in Texas law.

Although the registration law was changed in 2005 to cover earlier sex offenders such as Gauthe, he did not register with police until last week after inquiries about the former priest were made by KTRK-TV in Houston.

Under the law, Gauthe is required to reaffirm his personal data, including his residence and employment status, every 90 days for the rest of his life. Police arrrested him after learning that he was no longer employed as a charter bus driver, as he had listed in the required registration information.