PEARL RIVER, La. — The St. Tammany Parish District Attorney's Office has formally charged a Northshore priest accused of having sex with two dominatrices on the altar of a Pearl River church with vandalism.
Travis Clark, the 37-year-old former pastor of Saints Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church, was caught videotaping himself having sex with two women from out of state -- 41-year-old Mindy Lynn Dixon of Washington state and 28-year-old Melissa Kamon Cheng of Georgia -- on top of the church's altar in September.
The felony charge of institutional vandalism against Clark was formally submitted Thursday. Both women were also charged with vandalism.
The three are accused of “knowingly vandalizing, defacing, or otherwise damaging property and causing damage valued at over $500 and under $50,000," according to District Attorney Warren Montgomery's office.
The Archdiocese of New Orleans removed and burned the altar shortly after the incident came to light. Archbishop Gregory Aymond then consecrated a replacement altar.
In a statement, Aymond answered direct questions posed to him by WWL-TV investigator David Hammer. Among his responses, he called Rev. Travis Clark’s acts “demonic.”
“His obscene behavior was deplorable,” Aymond said. “His desecration of the altar in Church was demonic. I am infuriated by his actions. When the details became clear, we had the altar removed and burned.”
Clark, Cheng and Dixon were originally arrested on obscenity charges because their sex acts were clearly visible from the street, according to police. But an attorney for the women said that the pair were ultimately charged with lesser counts of institutional vandalism.
"It is clear the State went out of its way to contort the facts of this case in order to fit their own narrative," attorney Bradley S. Phillips said. "Once again, they have overstepped their bounds at this nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to regulate the morality of private individuals. Just because you don't like something, doesn't make it criminal. My clients look forward to their day in court as we continue to fight this baseless allegation."