A New Orleans man accused of repeatedly vandalizing a Metairie church -- and defiling the sanctuary by rubbing his bare buttocks on the altar -- pleaded not guilty Wednesday.
Paul Laborde Jr., 56, a registered sex offender who also served prison time for beating his father to death in 2004, is charged with burglary and three counts of institutional vandalism, according to Jefferson Parish court records.
Laborde was arrested April 25 after Sheriff's Office investigators say he thrice crept onto the closed campus of St. Edwards the Confessor Roman Catholic Church and damaged statues on the property. One statue, a 100-year-old image of the Virgin Mary, suffered about $4,000 in damage, authorities said.
Laborde first targeted the church March 21, authorities said. Church staffers noticed the damage the following morning and checked surveillance video to see an unknown man wreaking havoc, according to the Sheriff's Office.
But when investigators combed through additional video, they realized that on his first visit to the church, Laborde had entered the sanctuary without permission, walked over to the altar and crouched behind it for about 22 minutes, the Sheriff's Office said.
When he stood back up, his pants were around his ankles. Laborde was seen on video rubbing and gyrating his rear end and the exposed "front of his body" on the altar, a Sheriff's Office report said.
Laborde continued to walk around the sanctuary before taking a purificator, a linen cloth used during Mass to wipe the chalice after each person takes Communion, the Sheriff's Office said. In the video, he's seen using the cloth to wipe his face and hands.
Laborde is being held at parish jail in Gretna in lieu of $72,000 bail.
In 2007, he pleaded no contest to manslaughter in the beating death of his father, Paul Laborde Sr., 69. He served 11 years in prison for the killing.
He is a registered sex offender after a 1997 conviction for indecent behavior with a juvenile.