• Priest accused of sexually assaulting woman while performing last rites

    By: Crystal Bonvillian, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

    Updated:
    AUSTIN, Texas -

    A Texas Roman Catholic priest has been arrested following an investigation into allegations he sexually assaulted a woman to whom he was administering the last rites in October. 

    The Rev. Gerold Langsch, 75, is charged with assault by contact, CBS Austin reported. The crime is a Class A misdemeanor.

    The following story contains graphic details of an alleged sexual assault. 

    An arrest affidavit obtained by the news station and the Austin American-Statesman indicates the victim, a 60-year-old woman suffering multiple medical conditions, including diabetes that caused renal failure, was placed in hospice care last fall. Her husband reached out to the local Knights of Columbus, whose members offered to send a priest to administer the last rites, or the anointing of the sick, the affidavit said. 

    The woman was familiar with Langsch, whom she knew as Father Gerold from St. Paul’s Catholic Church, the affidavit said

    Langsch went to the woman’s home Oct. 5 and, using a bottle of holy water, anointed the woman’s chest, the court document said. 

    A moment later, however, he pulled out a bottle of lotion and began applying it to her breast, the Statesman reported. 

    “The document said Langsch massaged the woman’s breast, pinched her nipple and asked, ‘Does that feel good?’” the Statesman reported

    The affidavit stated Langsch also tried to put his hand down the woman’s adult diaper, the newspaper reported. 

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    According to Austin police officials, the woman, who reported the incident five days later, told detectives she felt like a “nasty, dirty piece of meat,” the affidavit said. 

    Charges against Langsch were delayed for several months due to complications with the woman’s health. On March 13, she was well enough to pick the priest out of a photo lineup, the Statesman said

    Langsch was arrested the following day and booked into the Travis County Jail, from which he has since been released on $15,000 bond. 

    If convicted, Langsch could be sentenced to a year in jail and fined up to $4,000.

    CBS Austin reported that investigators are trying to determine if there were other victims.

    “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,” Austin police Detective Steven McCormick said during a news conference.

    Officials with the Diocese of Austin said in a statement March 21 that they learned of Langsch’s arrest March 16. They describe him as a member of the Schoenstatt Fathers, a religious community from Germany.

    “(Langsch) came to the Diocese of Austin in November 2015 with his community and has only served at St. Paul Parish, which is staffed by Schoenstatt priests,” the statement from the diocese said. “In February, the Schoenstatt Fathers and the Diocese of Austin received an unrelated report that Father Langsch had failed to maintain proper boundaries with an adult. 

    “That report did not involve any physical contact.”

    Langsch was asked to resign from St. Paul Parish at that time, the statement said. He has since been relieved of his duties in the diocese. 

    “The Diocese of Austin remains committed to cooperating fully with the police in all investigations of this nature,” the statement said. “If you have any information related to this matter, please bring that information to the police as soon as possible. 

    “We ask your prayers for all involved.”

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