Court upholds priests 'seal of confession' in sexual abuse case
BATON ROUGE - A win for the Roman Catholic Church for the Diocese of Baton Rouge today in a legal case that centered around a church doctrine prohibiting a priest from revealing what is said inside a confessional.
A state appeals court affirmed that Father Jeff Bayhi does not have to reveal any conversation between him and a woman who claims she was sexually abused by a now deceased parishioner.
Rebecca Mayeux claimed in a lawsuit against the Church that she told Bayhi about the alleged behavior in 2008 and that those statements between the two should be included during any trial proceedings. Mayeux was 14 at the time.
However, attorneys for Mayeux say the court ruling today allows her to testify what was said in the confessional.
The ongoing court case has been the subject of a series of reports by the News 2 Investigative Unit.
The Roman Catholic Church maintains that conversations between a priest and a confessor are prohibited under any circumstance and would subject a priest to automatic ex-communication.
Mayeux’s attorneys are still seeking a higher court ruling that would force Father Bayhi to testify what was said in the confessional.