A Roman Catholic priest in Austin, Texas, has been accused of groping a woman in hospice care while he performed a last rites ceremony in October.
The Rev. Gerold Langsch, 75, has been charged with assault by contact, a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in a county jail and a maximum fine of $4,000.
An arrest affidavit filed last week said the woman suffered from several medical conditions including diabetes, and was put into hospice care at her home because of renal failure. Her husband reached out to the Knights of Columbus to tell them about his wife’s illness, and they said they would send a priest over to give the woman her last rites, the affidavit said.
According the affidavit, Langsch was known to the woman as “Father Gerold” of St. Paul’s Catholic Church and he arrived in early October. The affidavit said Langsch used a bottle of holy water to anoint the woman’s chest three times, then pulled out a separate bottle of lotion and began to apply it to her chest.
The document said Langsch massaged the woman’s breast, pinched her nipple and asked, “Does that feel good?”
The woman said she was in shock and felt like a “nasty, dirty piece of meat,” the affidavit said, adding that Langsch also tried to put his hand down the woman’s adult diaper and lift her leg, which caused her pain because she also suffered from neuropathy.
On March 13, the woman picked Langsch out of a photo lineup as the man who assaulted her.
A link to his profile on the Diocese of Austin website still exists on Google, but the page has been disabled.
Diocese of Austin Communications Director Christian Gonzalez said diocese officials learned of Langsch’s arrest on March 16. Langsch’s LinkedIn page lists him as clergy with the Schoenstatt Fathers movement in Waukesha, Wis. He came to Austin in November 2015, Gonzalez said, and has only served at St. Paul Parish.
Gonzalez said Langsch was removed as pastor at St. Paul Parish in February after officials received an unrelated report that he had failed to maintain proper boundaries with an adult.
“That report did not involve any physical contact,” he said. "The Diocese of Austin is fully cooperating with the investigation, and encourages anyone with information related to the case to contact police as soon as possible."