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The Peyton family, long-time members of the Roman Catholic Church, faced a crisis that led them to reevaluate their faith and place within the Church. Scott Peyton, who served as a deacon for 11 years, and his wife, Letitia, were deeply embedded in their church community when they encountered a distressing situation involving their son and a trusted parish priest.

The crisis began when their son disclosed that he had been molested by the parish priest, a revelation that led to the priest’s confession, conviction, and a seven-year prison sentence for the molestation of a juvenile. This event marked the beginning of a challenging journey for the Peytons, who sought justice and healing in the wake of the abuse.

As the legal battle against the Diocese of Lafayette unfolded, the Peyton family experienced further alienation from the Catholic Church. They encountered victim-blaming and a lack of support, profoundly affecting their faith and trust in the institution they had once devotedly served. Scott, grappling with the betrayal and his own wounds, decided to step back from his diaconal duties, feeling unable to serve effectively under the circumstances.

In search of a supportive faith community, the Peytons left the Roman Catholic Church and joined the Anglican Church. This transition was a significant step, representing not only a change in their religious affiliation but also their desire for a community that offered understanding and acceptance.

However, their departure from the Catholic Church did not mark the end of their ordeal. Scott received a formal excommunication decree from the bishop of the Diocese of Lafayette, a rare and severe action that underscored the punitive approach of the Church toward those who challenge or leave it. This excommunication formally severed Scott’s ties with the Catholic Church, highlighting the institutional challenges faced by individuals seeking accountability and reform within religious organizations.

The Peyton family’s story is a factual account of their journey through faith, betrayal, and the quest for justice. It sheds light on the complexities and challenges of confronting institutional failures within religious communities, as well as the resilience required to seek healing and spiritual fulfillment beyond the confines of traditional institutional boundaries. Their experience underscores the importance of support, understanding, and acceptance in navigating the personal and spiritual aftermath of church-related trauma.

Find the full interview on The Parish Circuit YouTube channel.

The Peyton family now operates a nonprofit known as Tent Makers, to help those recovering from clergy sex abuse.