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This photo provided by the Austin Police Department shows Gerold Langsch. The Rev. Langsch, of Austin, was arrested Thursday, March 14, 2019, and charged with assault by contact stemming from the October encounter. The 75-year-old priest is free on $15,000 bond. If convicted, he could be sentenced to a year in jail and fined up to $4,000. (Austin Police Department via AP)
Texas Priest Accused Of Groping a Woman in Hospice Care During Her Last Rites
A Catholic priest in Texas was arrested Thursday after he allegedly molested a woman while giving her last rites.
The Rev. Gerold Langsch, was charged with assault by contact following the encounter in October. He’s currently free on $15,000 bond and is facing a year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000.
The 75-year-old priest is accused of the assault after he visited a woman in hospice care at home for complications from diabetes and administered the sacrament of anointing the sick, a sacrament of absolution.
The woman, who wasn’t identified, says Langsch first anointed her chest with holy water and then began to apply lotion on her body and massage her breast. At one point he allegedly pinched her nipple and asked “Does that feel good?” before attempting to put his hand in her diaper, which he was unable to do.
The alleged incident and priest’s behavior left the woman shocked and confused, she told the police. She said she felt like a “nasty, dirty piece of meat.”
Police said that the reason it took nearly half a year for the authorities to arrest Langsch is because of the woman’s health, which delayed the investigation, even though she reported the crime five days after the incident, according to CBS Austin.
She was reportedly able to identify the priest in a lineup helping officers make an arrest and charge him with the crime.
It remains unclear if there are other alleged victims of Langsch. “We would greatly encourage any victims in the Austin area to call 911 or 311 and file a report if they have been a victim with this suspect or any other suspect,” APD Detective Steven McCormick told the outlet.
The Catholic Diocese of Austin on Wednesday said in a statement that Langsch is no longer serving as a priest in the diocese and lost his position at St. Paul Catholic Church in Austin after receiving “an unrelated report that he had failed to maintain proper boundaries with an adult.”
The diocese said the report didn’t involve any physical contact, though, it still removed Langsch from the positions within the diocese, and pledged to fully cooperate with authorities.