An Austin Catholic priest was arrested after police say he assaulted a woman in hospice care.
75-year-old Rev. Gerold Langsch has been charged with assault by contact, class a misdemeanor.
The incident allegedly happened in October 2018 when a woman was put on hospice care after suffering from several medical conditions. Police were contacted five days later but an arrest wasn't make until early March. APD says the investigation was delayed due to complications with the woman's health. This month she was able to identify the priest in a lineup helping officers make an arrest.
While on hospice, the victim's ex husband contacted the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic-based fraternal service organization, to inform them of the victim's illness.
They offered to send a priest to their home to give the victim her last rites, a religious ceremony to offer absolution of sins prior to dying through anointment.
On October 5 the priest came to the house and anointed her with holy water.
The priest, however, then applied lotion on her chest at which point "he massaged her breast and pinched her nipple, saying 'does that feel good?'" the affidavit states.
The victim was in shock, uncomfortable and confused. In the affidavit, she described feeling like a "nasty, dirty piece of meat."
Austin Police say they do not know if there are 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," says APD Detective Steven McCormick.
Langsch was arrested then released from Travis County jail after paying a $15,000 bond.
The Diocese of Austin released the following statement:
On March 16 the Diocese of Austin learned that Schoenstatt Father Gerold Langsch was arrested by the Austin Police Department. Rev. Langsch is 75 and is a member of the Schoenstatt movement. He came to the Diocese of Austin in November 2015 and has only served at St. Paul Parish.
In February, Rev. Langsch’s religious superiors and the Diocese of Austin received an unrelated report that he had failed to maintain proper boundaries with an adult. That report did not involve any physical contact. Rev. Langsch was removed as pastor of St. Paul Parish in Austin based on that report. He is no longer able to serve as a priest in the Diocese of Austin.
The Diocese of Austin will cooperate fully with the police in their investigation. The Diocese of Austin always encourages cooperation with local and state law enforcement. We also ask that if you have any information related to this matter to bring that information to the police as soon as possible. We trust that God will guide our public officials toward a just result and we offer prayers for all involved.