AUSTIN, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - An Austin Catholic priest has been accused of assaulting a woman during a last rites ceremony, according to court documents.
Police say the victim suffers from several medical conditions and was on hospice care from being really sick with diabetes at the time. The Knights of Columbus, a Catholic-based fraternal service organization, was contacted by the victim's ex-husband and they offered to send a priest to give the victim her last rites. Last rites is a "religious ceremony to offer absolution of sins prior to dying through anointment," according to court documents.
Gerold Langsch, a priest, went to their home in October 2018 and brought a bottle of holy water to anoint her, police say. Langsch allegedly then inappropriately touched the victim who was in shock and uncomfortable, according police. The victim described feeling like a "nasty, dirty piece of meat."
The victim knew Langsch only as Father Gerold who belonged to St. Paul's Catholic Church. On March 13, the victim was able to identify Langsch from a photo lineup.
Christian González, with the Diocese of Austin, says Langsch was removed as pastor of St. Paul Parish due to a separate, unrelated incident in February and he is no longer able to serve as a priest in the Diocese of Austin.
The full statement from González is below:
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.