Baton Rouge list of clergy accused of abuse grows to 40 with two new additions

The Advocate, Louisiana/February 27, 2019

By Andrea Gallo

The Diocese of Baton Rouge added two more Catholic clerics Wednesday to its list of those who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse with a minor, increasing the diocese's tally of abusive clergymen to 40.

When Baton Rouge Bishop Michael Duca released the diocese's initial list a month ago, Duca said the list would evolve over time, and likely grow. The diocese has already updated its list once, earlier this month. The newest additions come on the heels of a worldwide summit Pope Francis convened about clerical sexual abuse, in which the pontiff called for an "all-out battle" against it.

The two names added to the Diocese of Baton Rouge's list Wednesday are the Rev. Barry Finbar Coyle and the Rev. John Hardman. Though both spent time ministering in Baton Rouge, the accusations against them were lodged in other dioceses. Diocese of Baton Rouge spokesman Dan Borne said Wednesday that the diocese had received no allegations about either priest.

Coyle, a Franciscan priest, served at St. Jean Vianney and St. Aloysius in Baton Rouge, along with church parishes in New Orleans. He also served as a chaplain at the now-closed Earl K. Long Hospital, Doctors Memorial Hospital and Parkland Pavilion.

Coyle was ordained in 1958 and is now dead. He was included on a 2017 list of credibly accused clergy members from the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, where the archbishop pledged under oath earlier this year, amid bankruptcy proceedings, to open sealed records of child-abuse cases there.

Coyle's alleged abuse occurred before he moved to Louisiana. Bishop Accountability, which maintains an extensive database of priests accused of sexual abuse, says on its website that Coyle was assigned to the Santa Fe Cathedral between 1959 and 1974 before working in the Diocese of Baton Rouge and the Archdiocese of New Orleans. His death entry in a 1992 directory said he was assigned to St. Mary of the Angels in New Orleans, according to Bishop Accountability.

Coyle, who was also Franciscan vocations director for the Southwest, appeared to use alternate listings of his name in church directories. Bishop Accountability said he was referenced as "Finbar" in Santa Fe directories, but his name was listed as "Barry" once he left Santa Fe.

Hardman, who was a Josephite priest ordained in 1944, was in residence at St. Catherine of Siena Church in Donaldsonville. He is also now dead.

Hardman was included on the Archdiocese of Mobile's list of credibly accused clergy, released late last year. The Archdiocese of Mobile said his allegations of abuse were between 1972 and 1978, while he worked for Most Pure Heart of Mary Parish.

Despite the allegations of abuse against Hardman, it appears he remained a priest until his death in 2007. An obituary in the Baltimore Sun that year still referred to him as a priest and solicited contributions to the Josephite Society in his name.

The Diocese of Baton Rouge encouraged anyone who suspects abuse to immediately report it to law enforcement or to the Department of Children and Family Services. After reporting it to those entities, diocesan officials encouraged people to contact the diocese's victim assistance coordinator, Amy Cordon.

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