REV Travis Clark, 37, and two women – Mindy Dixon and Melissa Cheng – have been booked on obscenity charges after some nosy-parker filmed them having sex on the altar of Saints Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church in Pearl River, New Orleans.
The altar has since been removed and burned. See updated report here.
The irony is that the three were actually performing before a phone camera mounted on a tripod when an eye-witness, attracted by lights in the church at an unusually late hour, videoed them as they sex.
The “small” pastor was partially dressed his priestly attire and the women were dressed in corsets and high-heeled boots. Sex toys and stage lighting completed the scene of what was obviously an amateur porn shoot.
The eyewitness took a video and called the Pearl River police, who arrived at the church and viewed the recording. They then arrested Clark, pastor of Saints Peter and Paul since 2019, on obscenity charges.
The Archdiocese of New Orleans announced the priest’s arrest October 1 but would not give specifics about why he was arrested. Nor would the police.
New details, however, have emerged in court filings which show that Dixon, 41, is an adult film actor who also works for hire as a dominatrix.
On a social media account associated with Dixon, a September 29 post says she was on her way to the New Orleans area to meet another dominatrix to “defile a house of God.”
The arrests mark the latest scandal to befall the Archdiocese of New Orleans. On October 1 Rev Pat Wattigny confessed to Archbishop Gregory Aymond, above, that he had sexually abused a minor in 2013.
Aymond removed Wattigny from public ministry last week and added him to the archdiocese’s list of clergy whom the church believes have been credible accused of molestation.
Clark, who was ordained in 2013, had recently been named chaplain of Pope John Paul II High School in Slidell, in addition to his duties at Saints Peter and Paul.
At the high school, he succeeded Wattigny, above left, who had resigned from that position this summer over inappropriate text messages sent to a student. Pope John Paul II’s principal sent a letter to school parents on Tuesday criticising Aymond for waiting until last week to tell him that Wattigny had been under investigation for those texts since February.
The archdiocese announced it had suspended Clark from ministry the day after he was arrested.
It would not comment on Clark’s arrest, saying authorities were investigating the matter.
The women reportedly told police they were there with Clark’s permission and were recording themselves in “role play.”
Although police fficers determined everything that had happened was consensual, they arrested Clark, Cheng and Dixon on accusations that the three had broken a law prohibiting people from having sex within public view. Police said they confiscated the sex toys and camera equipment as evidence.
Clark was later released from jail on a $25,000 bond. Cheng, of Alpharetta, Georgia, and Dixon, of Kent, Washington, posted bonds of $7,500.
Each could face six months to three years in prison if convicted of obscenity.
Aymond sent a letter to parishioners at Saints Peter and Paul on Monday saying the Rev Carol Shirima would replace Clark beginning October 11.
Pearl River Mayor David McQueen said the arrest shocked the town:
There hasn’t been a whole lot of talk, they’re kind of hush-hush about it.
Town Council member Kat Walsh, a lifelong member of the church, echoed McQueen. She said parishioners, especially those who are more deeply involved in the church, are the ones who were the most upset by the arrests.
What upsets me is, why did he have to do that there? I’m upset for all of us, the parishioners of the church. Why there?
Hat tip: Robert Stovold and BarrieJohn