A former Catholic priest who was caught having a threesome with two dominatrices on the altar of a Louisiana church pleaded guilty to felony obscenity on Monday.
Travis Clark, 39, was arrested in 2020 after a passerby claims he saw the light on in a Pearl River church and walked up to witness Clark and two women filming themselves having sex on the altar. Court documents show the police seized sex toys, stage lights, and two recording devices: a tripod-mounted camera and a cell phone.
The Times-Picayune reports that Clark will serve three years of supervised probation and pay a $1,000 fine. The felony institutional vandalism charge against him was dropped.
News of the threesome took the small town of Pearl River by storm when it made headlines in 2020. Archbishop Gregory Aymond called Clark’s behavior “deplorable” and said his “desecration of the altar in the church was demonic, and I am infuriated by his actions.” Aymond had the altar removed and set it on fire. (That same month, another priest in the same archdiocese was credibly accused of molestation, and while he was eventually removed from public ministry, Aymond notably did not call him demonic.)
The sex workers, Mindy Dixon and Melissa Cheng, were also arrested and experienced online harassment. Dixon released her “official fucking statement” on Twitter with a devil GIF and told harassers it was absurd trying to shame her with scripture and tell her she’s going to burn. In a GoFundMe to help pay her legal fees, Cheng pointed out that “all parties involved were consenting adults.”
The witness who called the police on Clark and the two women in Sept. 2020 said he saw the (now former) priest partially naked on the altar, half-dressed in his priestly attire, with the two dominatrices in corsets and high-heeled boots. Clark also allegedly defecated on the carpet. The witness took a video, which he later showed to law enforcement.
The three adults initially faced two felony charges (obscenity and institutional vandalism), but the women entered a plea agreement with the state in July of this year, to a misdemeanor count of institutional vandalism. They agreed to testify for the prosecution in Clark’s trial. Judge Ellen Creel gave them each a suspended sentence and two years of supervised probation.
Clark’s lawyer told Creel on Monday that the ex-priest shouldn’t have to serve active probation. “In this situation it’s an incredibly specific set of facts and conditions that seem very unlikely to ever happen again,” said Michael Kennedy. He then said the two sex workers, who both live out of state, are more likely to repeat the offense.
Creel said she did not want to treat the three adults differently and maintained that Clark should serve active probation.
The newspaper reports Clark is scheduled to appear in civil court in January for a permanent injunction that aims to prohibit him and his codefendants from profiting from the sex acts.