JUN 3, 2005 Satanist paedophile ring 'ritually raped up to 25 children' DAILY MAIL
In the cypress flats of Tangipahoa, a fervently religious area in the swamps north of New Orleans, local people still remember proudly how the Rev Louis Lamonica vowed to "take Tangipahoa parish for Jesus".
Thirty years later, the charismatic preacher's son and successor has certainly taken the parish by storm - but not exactly for Jesus.
In a case that has horrified Americans way beyond the Bible Belt, Louis Lamonica Jnr and eight members the Hosanna Church are accused of being members of a Satanic paedophile ring who ritually raped up to 25 children, as well as performing animal sacrifices.
Police say some of those charged - who include Lamonica's wife and a deputy sheriff - have already admitted devil worship inside the now defunct church on the outskirts of Ponchatoula, the parish's main town.
The discovery of badly rubbed-out pentagrams on the floor and eight boxes of hooded black costumes - allegedly used both in the abuse and in "morality tales" performed to prepare the young victims - bear out some of the claims.
The city, hitherto famous for its fine strawberries and low-end antique shops, is respectably blue collar. Its only eccentricity is an alligator cage in the town centre occupied by Hardhide, the local mascot.
Most of its 6,000 inhabitants - white and black - are factory workers in nearby Baton Rouge and New Orleans. All the accused are white, described by local police as under-educated "redneck country people".
Lamonica himself astonished police by walking into a neighbouring sheriff's office a few weeks ago and confessing out of the blue that over five years he and other church members had sexually abused boys and girls aged between one and 16 and taught them to have sex with each other, as well as with a dog.
Lamonica, 45, said he had drunk cat's blood and poured it over the bodies of his young victims, some of whom were the abusers' children. Local police say his claims have been confirmed by some of the victims, of whom half a dozen have so far been interviewed, and by some of the fellow abusers, whose names Lamonica freely gave to police.
Other victims, known to the abusers only by first names or nicknames, have yet to be traced, prompting FBI investigators last week to excavate recently disturbed land on the site and scour the area with tracker dogs.
Lamonica, a heavy equipment operator who was elected pastor in 1993 after his father's death, claimed the abuse began in 1999 and stopped in 2003 when the Hosanna Church closed. But police believe it may have continued in members' homes.
Most of the accused have been charged with aggravated rape of a child under 13, a capital offence in Louisiana. Lamonica faces two counts of aggravated rape and one of a crime against nature, relating to a poodle.
The FBI, which is involved because paedophile material may have been placed online, has stopped looking for human remains on the church site.
However, Tangipahoa's sheriff, Daniel Edwards, said more arrests may follow as the FBI interviewed people and analysed seized evidence.
Charles Reed, a deputy sheriff, said this included videos of "morality plays" performed to confuse the victims, and in some cases their equally under-educated parents, about the morality of the abuse.
Although Sheriff Edwards is in no doubt that some of the abusers believed they were taking part in Satanic rituals, Mr Reed said it remained unclear how much they were simply paedophiles using the "trappings and symbols" of Satanism.
Tim Normand, a retired property developer who lives next to the church, said Lamonica and his flock waged an intimidation campaign to try to force him to move out.
He said their behaviour, such as making Indian whooping noises in his garden, became increasingly odd.
He said: "They wanted to baptise their children in my creek. I said: 'You can't do that. There's gators in there.' "
MAR 16, 2014 Babies in black dresses abused while laying in a Pentagram, drinking cat's blood and Satanic writings on church walls: The twisted confessions of the pedophile pastor from Louisiana who inspired 'True Detective' DAILY MAIL
At 1.15pm on 16 May, 2005, Pastor Louis Lamonica Jr strolled into Detective Stan Carpenter’s office in Livingston, Louisiana and made his confession. What he had to say ‘floored’ the detective.
The pastor of Hosanna Church in nearby Hammond claimed he had performed satanic rituals, child abuse and animal sacrifice in the church and that he was not alone.
He named his fellow perpetrators and he named their child victims. It marked the beginning of the Hosanna Church Scandal and exposed a vicious pedophile ring in a case whose shockwaves reverberate in Lamonica’s former parish of Tangipahoe to this day.
This week writer Nic Pizzolatto, hinted that this case was his inspiration for HBO's massive hit ‘True Detective,' in which detectives Marty Hart and Rust Cohle, played by Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey, uncover a string of ritualistic satanic murders committed under the cover of a powerful evangelical establishment in South Louisiana.
Now, for the first time, MailOnline has seen the full shocking confession that fired the starting pistol on the most notorious scandal in recent Church history, reviewed hundreds of pages of Lamonica’s own writing and spoken to the officer who took the pastor’s confession that day.
Major Carpenter, 62, recalled: ‘Lamonica walked into my office and sat down, just as calm as you and me talking now.
‘I was Detective Supervisor at the time. When he came in he basically thought that after he told us what he did he was just going to go on about his business of the day.
‘Listening to him, here where we’re all Christian, it kind of floored me. You’re talking about a man who professes to be a preacher, a pastor and a church leader abusing children and worshiping Satan.
‘I’m an old guy. I’m coming up to retire in a couple of years. I thought I’d seen it all and sometimes I reckon you have seen it all, only in different ways. Then something like this happens. It stays with you.’
In his confession, seen by MailOnline, Lamonica sat down and announced: ‘I want to talk about the dedication (to Satan) of a baby. It was held at the church, upstairs, in what was called the Youth Room.’
He went onto describe a room where all the windows were covered in black, ‘like black paper, keep it dark.’
There was a pentagram in the middle of the floor, he said and a book of ‘Spells and Temptations.’ On this occasion, he claimed, there were five others present: Austin ‘Trey’ Bernard III, then 36, Lamonica’s wife Robin, 45, church member Paul Fontenot, 21, sheriff’s deputy Chris Labat, 24 and Patricia ‘Trish’ Pierson, 56. All but LeBat later pleaded guilty to charges ranging from aggravated rape to sexual battery to obstruction of justice. Labat was charged with child pornography but subsequently the charges were dismissed.
Lamonica stated: ‘They would start off like a church service but it was Satanic music. There were candles burning, dark, red candleholders. And the dedication of baby A into Satan with this Pentagram, she was put in the middle, in a black dress.’
He described chanting around the child – Trey Bernard’s daughter, barely one year old at the time – before killing a cat, draining its blood and each drinking it.
He claimed they did not make the child drink because she was too young and instead took off her dress and sprinkled the blood over her.
These meetings, according to Lamonica, took place once every two to three months.
On other occasions ‘certain girls would be picked and have sexual relationships with. The guys would line up, one by one, they would come and they would have sex with that girl. And the same if there was a woman…they would have [a] homosex (sic) relationship and oral sex, acting like one was a man and one was a woman.’
He claimed that there was ‘feces laid around. There was urine.’
And he claimed that during these satanic rituals he would become ‘distorted’ by the Devil and that demons would change him into an animal – ‘a snake, a fox, wolf, spiders.’
His words are reminiscent of the notion of Courir de Mardi Gras, central to True Detective’s version of Satanism and the occult and explained by Cohle as ‘a very rural sense of Mardi Gras, you know, the men on horses, animal masks and such.’
In the show, that Cajun culture is twisted into the killer’s satanic ritual of posing his victims with antlers.
In the Hosanna Church case this translated into talk of animal masks, hoods and gowns.
Each member of this group, this pedophile ring, had a nickname, he claimed. Trish Pierson was ‘Bluey-Black’ after the colors on the spell book she carried.