On the writer Ray Mouton, and his novel, “In God’s House”.

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In 1998, I checked off a personal bucket list entry by arriving in Pamplona, Spain, a day before the annual commencement of the Festival of San Fermin, and then remaining all the way through the revelry, until it was over — eight days of hard partying even if one refrains from running with the bulls.

I probably wouldn’t have gone to Pamplona — wouldn’t have tripped over the comatose bodies of Eurotrash, wouldn’t have eaten Pyrenees trout stuffed with ham, wouldn’t have drained bottles of anise-like Pacheran — if not for my cousin Beak’s trailblazing. When he landed his tenured position in Florida and started attending the festival on a yearly basis in the early 1990s, he immediately fell in with the anglophile expatriate coterie and met numerous and memorable aficionados, including a fellow American, Ray Mouton.

That’s why I have the pleasure of counting Ray among my casual acquaintances, and although I have not been to Pamplona for a while, and Ol’ Paco lives abroad, he’s every bit as interesting as his press clippings suggest.

In 1998, on the festival’s final night, with the week-long lunacy gradually settling into a post-coital reverie, the three of us had a quiet dinner for the first time in eight days, and then went for a cool, breezy walk at sundown atop the old wall that protects the old town from incursions from the valley below. Ray’s arm was in a sling, because during the encierro, he’d been trampled — not by a bull, but by another human being. The tales of his life’s adventures were vastly entertaining, and it was an unforgettable end to an all-in.

Eventually he authored a very well-regarded book about San Fermin, and then set to completing a novel, the content of which pertains not only to seminal events in his own life as a brash young lawyer, but also in a broader sense to far less savory occurrences in the lives of far too many children throughout the world. Owing to the vagaries of fate, when he was younger, Ray got in on the ground floor of the Catholic Church’s pedophilia scandal — and it changed the trajectory of his life.

I’ve ordered his fictionalized account from the UK: In God’s House: A novel by Ray Mouton. Ray’s looking for an American publisher … and a movie deal. I’ll review the book once finished.

For the rest of Ray’s story: Church abuse case haunts lawyer who defended priest, by Evan Moore (Daily World in Opelousas LA)

Mouton no longer attends services — not since the case of the Rev. Gilbert Gauthe, whose horrific crimes against children in the Diocese of Lafayette set off a wave of scandal in 1985 that reached across the USA all the way to the Vatican; not since Mouton defended Gauthe and almost ruined his life in the process.

Now, he enters churches only to light candles, candles for the children.

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