by Max Brantley
Arkansas Catholic reports that Bishop AnthonyTaylor has suspended a Cherokee Village priest, Father Laurent Demets, for slapping a child at St. Michael Church in Cherokee Village. The news release said the allegation does not involve sexual misconduct.
UPDATE: The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) isn't wholly satisfied with diocesan response. Its statement:
We are grateful that Little Rock church officials reported this incident to the Arkansas hotline, but we're disappointed they took this step only after conducting their own “preliminary investigation.” Crimes need to be reported promptly to independent, professional law enforcement officers. In the time it took diocesan officials to investigate, we fear evidence may have been destroyed, witnesses intimidated and victims silenced.
We hope this was an isolated incidence of violence by Fr. Laurent Demets. But we urge Bishop Taylor to visit every parish where Demets worked and encourage anyone with information about his behavior to contact law enforcement. We also hope church officials will do the same in other dioceses where Demets may have spent time.