Sex offender's release concerns abuse advocates
ST. FRANCISVILLE - The upcoming release of a man who was convicted of having sex with four juveniles is alarming advocates who represent sex abuse victims. Two of the victims were 13 years old.
In the sleepy town of St. Francisville, advocates for sexual abuse victims want residents there to wake up and be alert to a predator about to be released back on the streets.
The predator they are referring to is 23-year-old Johnny Brown, who was convicted of having sex with four juveniles over a two-year period. Brown received a plea deal and will likely serve less than three years in prison.
How his cases were handled is being called into question by people who represent sex abuse victims.
"I think this is the best deal in my experience that I've seen," said Morgan Lamandre, an attorney for Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response, or STAR.
Brown was convicted of carnal knowledge of a juvenile in all four cases against him. He served his time on the felony charges, and will not have to finish a year of his sentence on the lesser counts.
"Something about that doesn't feel right," Lamandre said.
The News 2 Investigative Unit uncovered those apparently weren't the only offenses. In November of 2010, a 12-year old came forward and said she had sex with Johnny Brown. A sheriff's report indicates it happened in St. Francisville. It was noted the victim told investigators "it hurted, so I told him to stop."
Tonight there are serious questions as to whether the sexual activity with the 12-year-old was or was not part of the consequences brought against Brown.
"A 12-year-old can't consent to sex and under our laws, even if it was consensual and having sex with a 12-year-old will be considered aggravated rape which carries a life sentence," Lamandre said.
We reached out to District Attorney Sam D'aquilla about this matter, and he agreed to an interview two days before this story aired. Less than two hours before our scheduled interview, D'aquilla cancelled through a text message and claimed he'd been nominated to do the "ice bucket challenge" for ALS.
"If there is an offender that is plead down and serves less than three years for four counts of carnal knowledge, it does make us wonder what the district attorney was thinking in this case," Racheal Hebert, Executive Director of STAR said.
D'aquilla said in an email that the prosecutor in this case no longer works for him. He added the judge is the one who sentenced Brown.
Still, experts in the legal community believe the district attorney knew about this deal, and now they're wondering if that plea bargain puts the community's safety at risk.
"We really need to be monitoring this and just having him on the sex offender registry isn't enough," Lamandre said.
Brown is scheduled to be released on Oct. 2, 2014. He will then serve his misdemeanor charges with West Feliciana and could be free early next year. D'Aquilla says Brown will have to register as a sex offender for the next 25 years.