A 75-year-old Catholic priest In Texas was arrested after being accused of massaging the breast of a woman whom he was giving last rites, then asking her, “Does that feel good?”
The alleged victim is still alive; she said that last October 5, Reverend Gerold Langsch, who was the pastor of St. Paul Catholic Church in Austin, anointed her chest with holy water, rubbed lotion on her as he massaged her breast, pinched her nipple, then asked, “Does that feel good?” She added that he tried to fit his hand inside her diaper but failed. In lifting her leg, the woman said, he caused her pain because she suffers from neuropathy.
According to CBS news, the reason it took so long for the arrest to be made was because of the woman’s severe health problems; according to The Statesman, she had been placed in hospice because of renal problems. The Daily Mail reported, “Police contend in the arrest affidavit that the woman was in hospice care for complications from diabetes when Lansch went to her home to administer the sacrament of anointing the sick, a sacrament of absolution.”
The situation arose after the alleged victim’s ex-husband alerted the Knights of Columbus of his ex-wife’s serious condition; they offered to send a priest. The accuser told police that after the priest visited her, she was in shock, uncomfortable and confused and felt like a “nasty, dirty piece of meat.”
The Catholic Diocese of Austin released this statement regarding the incident:
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.
Langsch was able to post $15,000 bond. He could wind up spending a year in jail and be fined up to $4,000. Austin Police are encouraging any other possible victims of the priest to come forward; APD Detective Steven McCormick stated, "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.”