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Sunday, 8 May 2011

Golatt also faced sex crime charges in Idaho

Angelo "Doogie" Golatt cloaked himself in the clothes and voice of a pious man of God, ministering to church youths, working with the mentally disabled, being front and center in singing and testifying in church.

He was a Louisiana College graduate in 2005, majoring in religious education, and a youth minister at Donahue Family Church. Google his name and there are many hits on older social network websites: Xanga, MySpace and others, where Golatt thanks God for his many blessings.

Golatt worked with children at the majority of places he was employed, or with adults as vulnerable as children: youth minister positions at Baptist and Assembly of God churches; helping the developmentally challenged at a facility in Idaho; interacting with Head Start program youths in his recent employment at the LaSalle Detention Facility in Jena.

In his writings on the Xanga website, Golatt talks of his mission in Idaho, where in 2006 he was youth minister at the Buhl Assembly of God while also working at the facility for the disabled.

"It's just so awesome being up there and seeing our people worship our Savior," Golatt wrote in September 2006. "A couple of Sundays ago I looked out in the audience and saw one of our youths singing, but not JUST singing, actually agreeing with the words in his heart."

But despite the light that Golatt professed to spread, he apparently has a very dark side.

Golatt, 28, has been charged with more than 60 sex crimes involving children ages 13 years or younger from 2003 to 2007. Rapides Parish Sheriff's detectives said the investigation centers on Golatt's work as a youth minister at Donahue Family Church in Pineville, which no longer is open.

Pastors Keith Dickens and Curtis Campbell, ministers at Donahue during the time Golatt allegedly committed the crimes, did not return messages left by The Town Talk seeking comment.

Golatt is behind bars now in the Rapides Parish jail, with a hearing scheduled Friday in front of a 9th District judge. Golatt's attorney, public defender Joe Kutch, refused a Town Talk request to interview Golatt in jail.

His March 29 arrest on four counts of youth sex-crime charges was the beginning. By April 11 the number had grown to 63 charges, including 52 charges of raping children 13 or younger.

It wasn't the first time Golatt was accused of sexual crimes.

Golatt was arrested in Idaho in 2006 on two counts of sexual abuse of a mentally challenged adult when he worked at a Twin Falls branch of the Centers for Independent Living.

The crime in Jerome County, Idaho, was reported on Nov. 17, 2006. Golatt was arrested on Dec. 4 on two counts of sexual abuse/exploitation of a vulnerable adult, eventually pleading down to a misdemeanor battery charge, according to the Jerome County Prosecutor's Office.

Golatt was sentenced to 180 days in jail. He spent 30 days in jail. The remainder was suspended, a clerk in the county's prosecutor's office said recently.

Jerome County sheriff's deputies issued a warrant for Golatt in 2007 for parole violation on the battery conviction, but by that time Golatt was back in Louisiana and officials could not extradite him for violating parole on a misdemeanor.

A Town Talk request made Friday to Jerome County sheriff's officials for Golatt's 2006 arrest report was not immediately answered. The Prosecutor's Office said the case file on Golatt and his victim was sealed in 2007.

During his time in Idaho, Golatt also was youth minister at the Buhl Assembly of God, where he raised no suspicions of deviant behavior until the arrest.

"While I was there I didn't have any issues whatsoever. I didn't have any concerns," said the Rev. Travis Hedrick, who was the pastor in Buhl in 2006 but left before Golatt got into trouble. "I found out many years later that there was some sort of accusation against him, that the church "» asked him to step down for the better good of the church and him."

Hedrick is now a pastor in St. Louis.

Golatt returned to Louisiana in 2007, where he held jobs including student services coordinator at Blue Cliff College in Alexandria, and a position at the LaSalle Detention Center in Jena, where he was arrested March 29 by Rapides Parish Sheriff's deputies and deputy U.S. marshals.

Blue Cliff campus director Tracy Kazelski refused comment for this article. Pablo Paez, vice president of corporate relations for the Geo Group, said only that Golatt no longer works for the LaSalle Detention Center. The Geo Group is a private company that manages the LaSalle prison for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Questions posed to Kazelski and Paez included whether they had done a criminal background check on Golatt.

Golatt, in the first quarter 2011 Geo Group newsletter, wrote that the LaSalle prison teamed up with a local Head Start program, which helps educate very young and poor children, to deliver gifts to the kids.

"Seeing the children smile was enough to excite the LaSalle team to plan for a bigger and better next year," Golatt wrote.

Rapides Parish Sheriff's Detective Stephen Phillips said Thursday that the police investigation of Golatt has been completed and handed over to the District Attorney's Office. DA James Downs said his office would look at the findings and decide if it warrants bringing the case before a grand jury.

Assistant District Attorney Rocky Willson, who will prosecute the case if a grand jury indicts Golatt, said that although Louisiana law states the punishment meted out for aggravated rape can be the death sentence, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled otherwise.

Willson said, however, that if Golatt is convicted he'll be in prison for a long time.

The Rev. David Brooks, pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Alexandria, said Golatt was never employed by the church, but that he did help out at Calvary functions when he was a student at Louisiana College. Golatt was among many other college students who helped at church functions, Brooks said.

Brooks said no church members have come forward with accusations against Golatt, and that he's asked youth leaders at Calvary if they've heard of anything.

"Nobody ever suspected anything, never heard anything, so we don't know of anything that happened," Brooks said.

Louisiana College spokeswoman Amy Robertson said school policy prevents any comment on Golatt's years at LC.



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