Charges reduced to vandalism for trio that desecrated altar

Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church of New Orleans, Louisiana. [Image credit: David Grunfeld -]

September 30, 2020 then Father Travis Clark and two women were reportedly observed filming sexual acts on the altar of the church.


At the time of their arrests 37-year-old Clark, 41-year-old Mindy Dixon and 28-year-old Melissa Cheng were charged with a violation of the obscenity statutes saying, "obscene acts occurred on the altar, which is clearly visible from the street."


The District Attorney's Office announced on Friday that it will be pursuing a lesser charge of felony vandalism against the three. They are accused of "knowingly vandalizing, defacing, or otherwise damaging property and causing damage valued over $500 and under $50,000" the announcement reads.


If convicted, they could be sentenced to up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000 or both.


Today Clark pleaded not guilty to the charge. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 18 and his trial is scheduled to begin on May 24.


Neither Dixon or Cheng were present at the courthouse today and their attorney, Bradley Phillips requested their arraignment be rescheduled.


In a statement to WWLtv Phillips said, "It is clear the State went out of its way to contort the facts of this case in order to fit their own narrative. Once again, they have overstepped their bounds and this is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to regulate the morality of private individuals. Just because you don't like something, doesn't make it criminal. My clients look forward to their day in court as we continue to fight this baseless allegation."


The day after his arrest, Clark was removed from his position with the Catholic Church and the Archdiocese removed the altar, burnt it, and consecrated a new one in its place.