Ex-Priest Accused of Sex Crimes against Children Seeks Bond Reduction
By Theresa Schmidt
May 2, 2013
One of ex-priest Mark Broussard's accusers says he did not remember the sexual assault until deputies questioned him just over one year ago.
Broussard is accused of sex crimes against children, including rape, some 25 years ago.
One of the alleged victims said the memory of the sexual assault against him didn't surface until deputies contacted him in March 2012.
First Assistant District Attorney, Cynthia Killingsworth, opposes the release of personal medical records of victims.
"That goes to what he's trying to get at which is the credibility of witnesses and you can't test that pre-trial. And that's what this would do. It would give him an opportunity to take these victims apart when they shouldn't be, with their private information. And I really object to that," said Killingsworth.
She said repressed memory is common with child victims of sexual assault.
"Realize the trauma that this has on individuals. You can see what it does to people and with their memories. They try to block it out. They all try to block it out. Can't blame them," said Killingsworth.
But defense attorney Tom Lorenzi said the defendant's right to a fair trial is more important than the victim's privacy.
"You're looking at mandatory life in prison, no probation, no parole, no suspension of sentence, and then you're looking at privacy. It's a balancing test and I think the Constitution wins," said Lorenzi.
The judge sided with the prosecution on the issue of medical records and refused to require one or both of the alleged victims to undergo evaluation by an expert hired by the defense.
The court also heard evidence about whether the ex-priest's $3.4 million dollar bond should be reduced. The state opposes a bond reduction.
"I believe the defendant is a huge flight risk and I think he's a dangerous perpetrator," said Killingsworth.
Broussard was first booked on 224 criminal charges -- but only five remain.
"It's just a matter of doing the math. I did the math earlier. If you just took the number of counts and divided it and then multiplied it by five, the bond would be $79,000," said Lorenzi.
Broussard's family says they can pool $200,000 to post as bond. Judge David Ritchie is expected to rule in several days.
Earlier, Ritchie denied a motion to suppress a video statement in which Broussard admitted to fondling a victim in the church rectory.
Detectives' video interview with Broussard took place March 22, 2012. That means the video statement can be used against Broussard during his trial.
The judge finds that Broussard was properly advised of his rights.
And Ritchie said Broussard's mere mention 10 minutes into the interview that he thought he wanted a lawyer did not constitute his invoking his right to an attorney. After making the comment, Broussard kept talking.
Later in the interview, Broussard said, "I said earlier I felt like maybe I need a lawyer. This is pretty damn serious."
At that point, detective Elizabeth Zaunbrecher said, "Yes this is serious. Okay, well, we're going to stop the interview."
Broussard's trial is set for Sept. 16.