Defense Attorneys Question Ex-Pastor's Abuse Confession

Channel 6 New Orleans/June 1, 2005

New Orleans -- Lawyers for the pastor in the church sex abuse case in Ponchatoula say they have some questions about his alleged May 16 confession to authorities in Livingston Parish.

Louis Lamonica, the former pastor of Hosanna Church, allegedly confessed to investigators that in 1999, he started within the church a Satanic cult that engaged in the ritual sexual abuse of children and animals. Police documents show that Lamonica implicated six other adults and named approximately 15 victims ranging in age from infancy to 17 years old. The documents say the cult disbanded about two years ago.

But Lamonica's lawyers said there may be problems with the way the alleged confession was taken. They would not give specific details.

They also confirmed that Lamonica was attacked by other inmates shortly after he was booked into the Livingston Parish Jail.

Two other suspects in the case, Nicole Bernard and another woman whom police declined to name, were also apparently threatened, and Bernard was attacked Friday night, investigators said.

Bernard was moved Tuesday to St. Tammany Parish, but the other woman declined to be relocated.

Neither Bernard's nor Lamonica's injuries were severe..

Meanwhile, preliminary hearings for some of the eight jailed suspects were continued Wednesday. It was not immediately known if a new date had been set.

A ninth suspect in the case is free on bond.

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