PEARL RIVER, La. (WDSU) – District Attorney Warren Montgomery announced Friday that he signed a felony Bill Of Information, formally charging the pastor of a Catholic parish in Pearl River and two out-of-state women with one count of institutional vandalism in an incident at the church last fall.
Travis Jhon Clark, 37, pastor of Saints Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church; Mindy Lynn Dixon, 41, of Kent, Washington; and Melissa Kamon Cheng, 28, of Alpharetta, Georgia, were charged by Montgomery’s office and are accused of “knowingly vandalizing, defacing, or otherwise damaging property and causing damage valued at over $500 and under $50,000” at the church on or between Sept. 29 and Sept. 30 last year.
The priest is accused of having group sex on an altar in the church. At the time of the incident, Archbishop Gregory Aymond called the incident ‘demonic.’
Clark was arrested Oct. 1 on an obscenity charge after reportedly being caught having sex with two women inside the church Sept. 30. According to court records, Clark was released from jail on a $25,000 bond.
“The church is a very holy place,” Aymond told the congregation at a mass shortly after the incident. “When a church has been used for unholy things and it has been desecrated. We must drive away the evil spirit, and that is what we do today.”
Aymond said the original altar had been removed and burned.
He asked parishioners not to blame the Catholic Church for the actions of “a few priests,” calling for healing within the small community.
According to the Archdiocese of New Orleans, Clark has been removed from ministry, is no longer on the church payroll and was removed as chaplain of Pope John Paul II High School in Slidell. They said there are no allegations Clark abused children.
“Let me be clear my sisters and brothers, there is no excuse for what took place here. It is sinful, and it is totally unacceptable,” Aymond said in a statement at the time of the incident. “Anyone like that obviously cannot serve in priesthood ministry, and he will not be able to serve as a priest anytime in the future.”