May 21, 2005

Allegations pour salt in family's wounds

The Times-Picayune

Saturday, May 21, 2005
By Keith O'Brien
Staff writer
HAMMOND -- As a boy, family members recalled, Louis David Lamonica never cursed or smoked. He was called to serve the Lord, said his sister Liz Lamonica Roberts on Friday, and he wanted to be a preacher just like his daddy.

And so when news broke this week that Lamonica, 45, and seven other members of his church in Hammond were arrested for allegedly participating in, or failing to report, sex acts with children, family members were horrified.

It's not that Lamonica has been perfect over the years. To the contrary, family members said Friday that he has been filled, at times, with anger as he pushed them out of his life and his church.

But murder, said Roberts, would be easier to accept than the aggravated rape charges facing her oldest brother, who became pastor of the Hosanna Church in 1993 and is now at the center of a growing investigation into what some are calling the cult-like activities of the curious congregation.

Some of the alleged activities include the sexual abuse of juveniles and animals, such as dogs and cats, police said. Chief Charles Fitz, the director of investigations at the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office, said Friday that there may be as many as two dozen victims, ranging in age from 1 to 20. And more arrests may follow, he said, as investigators from Tangipahoa, the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office, the Ponchatoula Police Department, state Child Protective Services and the FBI continue to interview people and analyze seized computers.

Posted by kshaw at May 21, 2005 08:42 AM