The question, “Why now?” has been asked more than once. With David Primeaux pushing daisies going on four months, why even do a story, much less a follow-up? Why expose a dead man’s secrets?
My answer is Peter Smithson and Bradford Port (not their real names, as the story, "The Day Primeaux Died," indicates), and the many other victims of Primeaux, most of whom quietly and anonymously carry the anger and shame of what he did to them — emotions made even more raw by a church hierarchy historically inclined to protect its shepherds rather than its sheep. Most of the victims, I suspect, had no idea where Primeaux melted off to, what he was doing or that he was dead. Don’t they deserve to know?
Some of them, like Peter, managed to move on with their lives and become successful adults. For them, the trauma of molestation is a shadow that trails them, and shadows have no substance — they’re just an absence of light. But for others, like Bradford, the emotional wound never closes, and self-medication through substance abuse — and the dysfunction it engenders (and in Bradford’s case, suicide) — is a ready remedy.
The men who traveled from Lafayette to Petersburg, Va., last Dec. 27 (Peter and Roger Port, Bradford’s nephew) were propelled by a complexity of motivations. Exacting revenge for the emotional wreckage Primeaux wrought and then left behind without legal repercussion was one of them. But I believe them when they tell me altruism — isolating David Primeaux, rendering him a pariah to prevent him from ever preying on children again — was the flag waving highest on their pole.
“Pedophilia in the Catholic Church is not new now. I think getting the families out there to try to pull that from their children to see if anything happened will be long-term for the greater good,” says Roger. “I think we have an obligation, if there are people in that town he was doing it to as [Peter] and I suspected, that the community and families can approach their kids. That’s the Christian outcome to something like this.”
As Judy Smithson, Peter’s wife and the de facto moderator of the informal David Primeaux survivor support group here in Acadiana, puts it, “You can live as a victim or live as survivors, and it’s a choice you make. You can blame Father Primeaux your whole life, or you can say, ‘You know what, what happened to me took away what I can’t fix, but I can maybe help the next person.’”
But helping the next person is made the more difficult by the Richmond media’s uncanny aversion to this story. Soon after its publication I sent a link to “The One Who Got Away” to all the major media in Richmond — the TV network affiliates, the daily. Only two reporters reached out to me: a staff writer for The Commonwealth Times, Virginia Commonwealth University’s student newspaper, with whom I shared information (but as of this writing I have yet to see any reporting); and an investigative reporter for one of the TV stations, who replied, “Hi Walter, fascinating story. I had no idea. If he wasn’t dead already, I’d jump on it in a heart beat. I’ll have to think about whether this is worth tackling and run it by my boss. Thanks for the heads up.”
I never heard back from him.
Pedophilia is a psychiatric disorder. There are treatments to suppress it — counseling and pharmacological intervention — but there is no cure short of chemical (or physical) castration. Was David Primeaux still molesting children? We may never know. But there is some evidence that his volunteer activities might have given him access to adolescents. Counseling for those kids, if they were violated, could prevent decades of anguish. Just ask Peter and Bradford.
Hello Kitty turns 40; police ambush suspect caught; Knicks surprise Cavs and more national and international news for Friday, October 31, 2014.
The Lafayette City-Parish Council will consider on Tuesday a revised plan to the transform a block in Downtown Lafayette into a mixed-use residential-retail-commercial development that doesn’t include giving title to the property to the Lafayette Public Trust Finance Authority, an arrangement the council rejected earlier this month.
Trying to combat the national undertones of Louisiana's U.S. Senate race, Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu is traveling the state this week on a sort of pork celebration tour, telling voters about the projects and aid she's delivered to Louisiana.
Ever thought that big, pink Gulf coast shrimp you ordered at the restaurant or bought from the store didn't taste juicy or salty enough? Maybe it wasn't from the Gulf.
The state treasurer won't sign financial documents needed for $200 million in borrowing or for a refinancing of existing debt until he believes they accurately explain the surplus disagreement.
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Bill Cassidy voted for 97 percent of the bills signed by Barack Obama.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is joining South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley on her campaign bus tour.
A New Iberia man has been sentenced to life in prison for killing a 4-year-old girl and scalding her 3-year-old brother.
A district judge decided Wednesday against sanctioning attorney/school board candidate Dawn Morris for her behind-the-scenes role in a lawsuit against Mark Cockerham.
Secretary of State Tom Schedler says Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration may have improperly destroyed records in the state employee health insurance program, in the middle of a heavily-criticized rewrite of benefit plans.
Paper cites the former ADA's "experience as a prosecutor, his demonstrated integrity, and his ideas for reshaping the [DA's] office" in urging voters to support Keith Stutes Nov. 4.
Louisiana officials have sent a letter to the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene un-inviting members of the group who have recently been to ebola-affected West African countries from attending the group’s annual conference in New Orleans next week.
Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints have to find a way to win on the road if they plan to take over first place in the NFC South.
"It is obvious that Louisiana economic performance has not outperformed the South or the United States as a whole and, in fact, has substantially underperformed..."
A state district judge said he will rule Friday on a preliminary injunction to keep some charter schools from receiving $60 million through Louisiana's public school financing formula.
Saints fans were to gather, make merry, eat/drink compliments of a new Downtown group and watch the Saints beat Carolina and claim 1st place in the NFC South. But...
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New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram doesn't see his dramatic spike in production as any sort of validation.
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu is facing off one last time with her two main Republican challengers before next week's election.
Shoppers familiar with Louisiana-based Rouses Market might be surprised when they walk into the new third location set to open at the Corner of Johnston Street and Duhon Road south the Acadiana Mall on Wednesday.
Noted architect and co-founder/principal of Architects Southwest receives highest honor given to former student.
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He’s pulling for Knezek and Hidalgo on his end of the parish but issued endorsements in three other districts as well.
Actually he’s not, but in this age of say anything, which the Harson campaign has perfected, we thought, ‘What the hell?’