A Luling father who has been convicted of molesting his daughter twice in the last 10 years is facing up to 198 years in jail.
The perpetrator was most recently convicted on Feb. 12 when a jury found him guilty of molesting a juvenile. In that incident his 11-year-old daughter told the court that he crouched down next to her bed in her grandmother’s home and groped her while touching himself. She said that similar incidents occurred about 15 to 20 times per month.
The child told police that her father said he would kill her if she ever told anyone what happened.
The father is currently awaiting sentencing in connection with the guilty verdict. He faces a minimum sentence of 25 years of hard labor, with the potential to spend 198 years in jail.
The St. Charles Parish District Attorney’s Office, who successfully prosecuted the case in Judge Emile St. Pierre’s court, found the situation to be particularly troubling given that the man had been convicted of molesting the same child before. After being convicted the first time, the father was given a plea deal that required him to register as a sex offender and banned him from having contact with his daughter.
However, the plea was later overturned in 2010.
The man originally agreed to the plea deal in 2004 after admitting to engaging in sex acts with his daughter when she was 4 years old. The case was compromised after the young girl refused to testify against him. The child’s mother also supported her husband in court.
The prosecution allowed the Luling man to take a plea agreement in which he received a suspended sentence, six years probation, an order to stay away from his daughter and a mandate to register as a sex offender. In a statement to the court at the time, the man also revealed he had been accused of an unspecified act with a young boy at his church and was no longer allowed to watch children at his place of worship.
No criminal action was taken in the church incident.
In 2010, at the end of the six-year probation period, the perpetrator appeared in front of Judge Lauren Lemmon and asked to withdraw his earlier plea due to increasingly restrictive sex offender laws.
Despite objections by prosecutors, Lemmon allowed the plea deal to be withdrawn, leaving prosecutors with the option to retry the case or work out another plea deal. Later that year the perpetrator pled guilty again in the case, but to the lesser charge of cruelty to a juvenile – a charge that no longer mandated him to register as a sex offender and removed the restriction that kept him from seeing his daughter.
After the Luling man was allowed to see his daughter, he was accused of physical abuse against her and his son, which led to a temporary restraining order.
However, Judge Michele Morel overturned the restraining order at the request of the children’s mother.
Subsequently, the second instance of sexual abuse was reported by the daughter soon after the restraining order was quashed.
The St. Charles Parish District Attorney’s Office made a strong statement to the court about the failure of the judicial system.
“Testimony at the trial by (Department of Child and Family Services) clearly showed the abysmal failure of the system to protect the child,” the filing reads.
Another filing by the District Attorney’s Office also implicated the child’s grandmother, who had partial custody of her, for attempting to get the young girl to recant her allegations.
“It is nothing short of a miracle that the child was still available as a witness after the complete betrayal by the system and her grandmother,” the filing reads.
The District Attorney’s Office said the perpetrator should be disallowed bond while awaiting sentencing.
“The time has come for the child to sleep at night without worrying who is coming into her bedroom,” the filing reads.