That relationship reaches back at least to 1985, when Gauthe was arrested in Abbeville, La., and became the first of a number of such priests throughout the country. His conviction on 34 counts of child molestation began an avalanche of civil lawsuits against the Roman Catholic Church that continues today.
Luck and the Catholic Church had kept him out of jail for years. He had been an active pedophile since his youth, when both he and his younger brother, Richard, a Boy Scout leader, had molested scores of children. Richard Gauthe, who had been ousted from the Air Force and the Scouts for abusing children, had subsequently married a woman with three children in the late 1970s and, according to her, molested all three.
Richard Gauthe’s former wife, Dixie Diez, said she had caught him molesting her son in 1980, years before Gilbert’s arrest, and forced a confession from him.
“Richard told me both he and Gilbert had been doing this for years,” she said. “I knew Gilbert was a priest and had access to all those kids and I tried to turn him in, but the police didn’t believe me. They said that, even if it was true, what I knew was hearsay and they couldn’t arrest him.”
Richard Gauthe was eventually convicted and jailed for molesting children in Great Britain. Gilbert, however, would remain free for five years after his sister-in-law alerted police to him
But others explicitly confessed: In 1970, a Colorado Scoutmaster was accused of fondling three Scouts as they slept. He admitted “immoral relationships with boys” to the Scout Executive, and “detailed an incident with one boy when they shared sleeping gear on a hike.”
And yet the police were not called. Instead, the Colorado Scout Executive wrote to the national office that the man had returned to his hometown of Napoleonville, and “so our hands are tied as far as proceeding further.”
That Scoutmaster, Richard Gauthe, turned out to be the brother of Gilbert Gauthe, among the first pedophile priests to be prosecuted in the 1980s.
Richard Gauthe married a woman with three children in the late 1970s, according to a report in the Houston Chronicle. She later accused him of molesting all three. Gauthe was eventually imprisoned in Great Britain.