A witness in Pearl River, northeast of New Orleans, called police on Sept. 30 after allegedly viewing Rev. Travis Clark, 37, through a window in a state of undress on the altar romantically engaged with two high-heeled, corseted women. Clark was allegedly partially dressed in his priestly attire.
The group had allegedly set up stage lighting and appeared to be recording the encounter on a cell phone, according to the New Orleans Advocate.
The witness had become suspicious when noticing the lights at Saints Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church were on late at night. The alleged incident was recorded and showed to police.
Clark, who has been the pastor at the church since last year, was arrested for allegedly having sex in a publicly visible location.
The two accused women, Mindy Dixon, 41, and Melissa Cheng, 23, were also arrested.
Dixon is an adult film actress and works as a dominatrix, according to the New Orleans Advocate.
A social media post from Dixon the day before her arrest said she was going to New Orleans to meet another dominatrix and “defile a house of God,” the newspaper reported.
Clark was also the chaplain of a nearby Catholic high school. He was ordained as a priest in 2013.
The Archdiocese of New Orleans said it had suspended Clark on the day of his arrest, according to WWL-TV in New Orleans.
“What upsets me is, why did he have to do that there?” Town Council member Kat Walsh said. “I’m upset for all of us, the parishioners of the church. Why there?”
Archbishop Greg Aymond went to the church days later for a church ritual to restore the altar’s sanctity, the station reported.
On the same day as the arrest, another New Orleans priest, Rev. Pat Wattigny, revealed he had allegedly sexually abused a minor in 2013, the New Orleans Advocate reported. He was removed from the ministry immediately.
Clark had taken over the chaplain position at the high school for Wattigny after he resigned last summer over allegedly inappropriate texts with a student. Clark was released from jail on a $25,000 bond and could face up to three years in prison.
Neither the archdiocese nor Clark have made public comment about the arrest.