A New Orleans man has been arrested and charged after he allegedly damaged a 100-year-old statue of the Virgin Mary when he illegally entered a church’s locked sanctuary, Nola.com reported.
Paul Laborde Jr., 56, is a registered sex offender who was also convicted in the beating death of his father in 2004. He allegedly rubbed his nude buttocks on the altar and placed the exposed “front of his body” against the altar and gyrated sexually.
Laborde was recorded by security video intentionally pushing over a statue ,which included images of children praying and an iron cross. Police say the statue suffered about $4,000 worth of damage. After he entered the sanctuary, he walked over to the altar and crouched behind it for about 20 minutes before he dropped his pants and rubbed his body against it.
He later took a linen cloth used during Catholic Mass to wipe the chalice clean after each person takes Communion and used it to wipe his hands and face.
Laborde was charged with simple burglary, three counts of institutional vandalism and six counts of simple criminal damage to property.
The Archdiocese of New Orleans said Tuesday that the altar at St. Edwards has been cleansed and “reblessed.”