Louisiana prosecutors are quick to pounce on individuals suspected of harming children. Allegations don’t have to be proven before defendants accused of child sexual offenses suffer consequences, like a pre-trial loss of freedom or full-blown media attention.
An Orleans Parish man was arrested three times since late February on charges related to the same alleged victim. The man was a church youth pastor until early February, when he was fired for reported misconduct with a teen church member. The initial arrest happened a few weeks after First Baptist New Orleans church officials and the parents of the 14-year-old girl contacted police.
The former youth minister was charged with indecent behavior with a juvenile and released on bond. The girl told police she and the youth pastor were “in love.” Further details provided by the teen in a subsequent interview led to a second arrest in early March and a sexual battery charge.
An indictment by an Orleans Parish grand jury preceded the last arrest on March 23. The defendant was jailed on 13 counts including five counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile, four counts of oral sexual battery, molestation, obstruction of justice, sexual battery and second-degree kidnapping. Bond was set at $6.5 million for offenses dating back to January 2014.
Authorities claim they have a video of the defendant and the teen entering a closet together at the church the day before the pastor was fired. The ex-youth minister reportedly was let go from another Louisiana church about a decade ago for similar reasons. The man’s most recent employer claimed the defendant cleared a background check.
Every Baton Rouge defendant has rights, no matter what charges he or she faces. Criminal defense attorneys help protect clients’ rights and work toward the reduction or dismissal of charges. In high-profile cases, lawyers may also respond on the client’s behalf to questions by the media.
Source: The Times-Picayune, “Ex-First Baptist youth minister hit with 13-count indictment alleging sex crimes with church teen,” Ken Daley, March. 23, 2015