Years ago I attended Hosanna assembly for a few services, Bible studies and even had private prayer sessions with the Church pastor Lewis Lemonica. I had no idea what was to come of this church because to me there was no sign of anything foul happening. | TruthSeekah
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EXCLUSIVE: 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’
- Writer of hit HBO series this week hinted at a sick pedophile ring in Louisiana as inspiration
- Just like the series it involved a church pastor, a corrupt deputy, Satanic rituals and even shares names
- Pastor Louis Lamonica Jr. of Hosanna Church, Hammond, Louisiana, confessed to being the head of a Satanic ring in 2005. At the time police feared up to 25 children could have fallen victim
- MailOnline has seen his spine-tingling confession to the crime in which he claimed he was one of six who took part in the abuse
- But at his trial his defense said he confessed falsely because he was under the spell of a charismatic woman denounced as a ‘false prophet’ who wanted to take over the church
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.
The leader: Pastor Louis Lamonica confessed to performing Satanic rituals, child abuse and animal sacrifice in the Hosanna Church in Hammond, Louisiana. His wife Robin, known as ‘The Lady,’ made sure ‘stuff goes right’
Twisted: Austin Trey Bernard was known as ‘The Mastermind’ of the cult, and used his one-year-old daughter in a sick ritual: a cat was killed and its blood was spilled on the child. His wife Nicole called the sheriff to spill the beans on the cult just two days before Lamonica made his confession. She was charged with two counts of aggravated rape but charges were dismissed.
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.
The reel story: The True Detective writer has hinted that his HBO series, in which detectives played by Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey uncover a string of ritualistic murders, was inspired by real life events
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.
House of horrors: Police fear as many as twenty-five children were abused by Lamonica and seven of his followers after they turned the ‘youth room’ of the Hosanna Church into one used for devil worship
He called his own wife, Robin, The Lady because she was an Organizer and made sure ‘stuff goes right.’
Trey was the ‘Mastermind’ and Lamonica himself was ‘Chief’.
Lamonica stated that the secret ceremonies had started in 1999 and carried onto 2003 when he and his wife separated and he moved out of the church building.
Bernard’s wife, Nicole, left Bernard and took their daughter with her to Ohio.
Two days before Lamonica walked into Major Carpenter’s office, Nicole had telephoned Tangipahoe Parish Sherriff Daniel Edwards – the man initially tasked with investigating the crimes that had taken place in his jurisdiction – with similar allegations.
The news quickly broke in this small, deeply religious stretch of Louisiana.
The church had a strong legacy in the area. Lamonica’s father, Louis Lamonica Sr founded it and was a respected and much loved pastor. The church had thrived for more than twenty years.
Lamonica’s claim that the church had converted to Satanism in 2000 was profoundly, indescribably shocking.
The building that had once been the heart of a community became a dark void at its center. It became a crime scene. Sheriff Edwards announced that there could be ‘as many as 25 victims.’
A bond of trust had been irrevocably broken. Here, after all, was a ring including not only a man of the cloth but a man of the law too. For Steve Brown, a former church member who testified at trial, it suddenly made sense of Sheriff Deputy Chris Labat’s inaction when he went to him with concerns about claims Bernard had made to him.
Bernard had confessed to abusing his child, according to Brown’s testimony, but when he told Labat the deputy claimed he couldn’t do anything without physical evidence.
When Bernard shared a notebook in which he wrote of the abuse, Brown took the writing he described as ‘stomach churning’ to Labat and was left wondering why nothing came of it. It did not occur to him that the gun-toting law man was himself one of the group which, Bernard later referred to as ‘perverted musketeers’ – one for all and all for one
One by one the church members named by Lamonica were rounded up and interrogated. With each interview the claims became more shocking.
Bestiality was added to the already sickening mix as Bernard and later Lamonica’s own sons claimed that he had sex with the family’s pet poodle,
Austin Trey Bernard’s interrogation, also seen by MailOnline, shows how deep the pull of religion is to this community.
One of the Detective’s questioning Bernard was himself a pastor who paused the police interview to pray: ‘Father, I just come to you in the Mighty Name of the Lord, Jesus Christ.
Caught : Patricia Pierson pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and sheriff’s deputy Christopher Labat had all charges dismissed
Lamonica described being ‘distorted by the Devil’ into a snake, fox or wolf, reminiscent of the Courir de Mardi Gras, a Cajun celebration of Fat Tuesday where men on horses wear animal and other bizarre masks.
‘I invited your Spirit to be in this place. Oh, God, I prayed before I came to this room tonight. I drove in, that you would use me as your instrument.
‘That through all these things that I would be able to arrive at the truth. Oh, God, O pray for Trey right now.
‘I pray that you would give him courage, Father in the midst of his fear to do the right thing.’
Bernard had already confessed to abusing his own daughter since she was two months old.
He was the first of the Hosanna Church accused to be convicted of abuse.
There are echoes of the Hosanna Church case throughout ‘True Detective.’ One of the real life accused was Paul Fontenot. A child victim in the TV show is Marie Fontenot.
Austin Bernard was a key protagonist in the real case. Austin Ferrar is a fleeting character in the fictitious one.
But as the Hosanna Church case progressed its parallels with the fiction it inspired diverge and it becomes, if anything, less credible and more disturbing than anything Nic Pizzolatto dreamt up.
By the time the case reached Amite Courthouse, Louisiana in the summer of 2008, two competing narratives had emerged – neither of them gave credence to a Satanic cult though that was the story that stuck publicly.
To the prosecutor, District Attorney Don Wall, the case had nothing to do with the occult – any reference to that was simply subterfuge and an attempt by Lamonica to wriggle out of his own guilt by somehow claiming to have been ‘compelled’ by Satan.
It was pedophilia – brutal and sustained and grim.
Lamonica’s sons, now 18 and 20, had given graphic accounts of long-term abuse at the hands of their father, Bernard – with whom it emerged, Lamonica was engaged in a sexual relationship.
They also described occasions in which they were subjected to various abuses as they were passed between their father, Bernard and Paul Fontenot At times they had claimed their mother and Trish Pierson were present.
Mysterious markings: The crimes revolve around eerie drawings found on a church wall in the series
On the hunt: The elusive Reggie Ledoux was an early sspect in the True Detective string of murders +paraded through the woods in his underwear with a gas mask on his face and a machete in his hand.
Spoiler alert: In the big reveal in the HBO series, the pervert known as ‘Lawnmower Man’ or ‘Spaghetti Monster’ is nabbed by HBO show’s detective
But defender Michael Thiel came up with an altogether more bizarre account in which he cast his client as the victim of a Christian cult lead by a preacher named Lois Mowbray, then 54.
He alleged that this ‘false prophet’ had taken over and driven all but a small number of worshipers from Hosanna Church and that this became her cult – isolated and obsessed by her notion of ‘cleansing’ and ‘generational curse,’ which rendered all guilty of the sins of their forefathers and ‘Altar Calls’ in which members of the congregation were called to publicly confess their sins so that she could cleanse them of their demons.
At the end of these ceremonies the ‘cleansed’ had to vomit out their demons.
Mr Thiel claimed that she was a charismatic who had brainwashed his client and family into making a false confession.
‘There was something cult, evil and sinister going on at the church,’ Mr Thiel told the court in his opening statement. ‘And that evil, sinister, presence was personified by a self-proclaimed prophet. A person who professes to have a direct connection to God. A person who likened herself to be the second Moses.
‘Someone who was destined to lead Tangipahoa Parish out of Egypt and away from Pharoahs. And supposed Prophet used her claimed connection to God to manipulate, coerce, control and exert authority and power.’
Mowbray was arrested for failure to report child abuse. Alhough this is not a crime in Louisiana if you are a pastor, she was not officially qualified as such. Charges against her were dropped.
She had instructed Lamonica to write down his sins in order to ‘cleanse’ himself through confession.
This, rather than going to authorities, was her reaction to his tales of violently abusing his sons.
There is no mention of Satan or any of the rituals, the animals masks or transformations in any of the more than 200 self-pitying pages Lamonica wrote detailing what he did to his children and who he did it with.
State Police and the FBI who were called to investigate the church found no DNA evidence of animal blood, no Satanic scrawls in the youth room visible only under ‘black light’ as Lamonica had claimed and no faint outline of a pentagram scrubbed from the floor as some reported.
Lamonica claimed his confession was false and forced. His sons recanted their own accounts on the stand.
Reborn: Hosanna Church was decimated by Hurricane Katrina and the Christian Life church was erected
But ultimately it was the bleak plotline of abuse, not the outlandish fictions of Satanism and the occult, or the power of a ‘false prophet,’ that the jury who convicted him and the judge who sentenced him believed.
Lamonica is currently serving four life sentences, to run concurrently. He has had a petition to appeal denied.Bernard received three consecutive life sentences.
Today, there is still a church on the site – the Christian Life Assembly of God, under the leadership of Rev Gary W Yates.
In the aftermath of the scandal there were calls to raze Hosanna Church. One company wanted to buy it, bulldoze it and build a hospital on the site.
But ultimately Hurricane Katrina saved anyone the trouble of gutting the building so associated with shame and scandal and it was cleared out not by a contractor but by an Act of God.
In the closing scenes of True Detective, Rust Cohle describes everything that has gone before as the only story there is – a story of ‘light versus dark.’
For Major Carpenter the same is true of the case he lived through nearly a decade ago.
He said: ‘There’s Good and Evil. I guess sometimes evil does overcome. But I like to think that God sorts things out. It’s up to the people involved to see if they can make things straight with God before they meet Him.’