Posted: Feb 10, 2014 2:20 PM by WBRZ Staff
Updated: Feb 10, 2014 6:51 PM
BATON ROUGE- Former Sorrento Police Chief Earl Theriot pleaded guilty Monday to lying to the FBI about having sexual contact with a woman in his custody.
According to the U. S. Attorney's Office in Baton Rouge, Theriot admitted in federal court that he took the woman back to his office at the police department and had inappropriate sexual contact with her on Nov. 1, 2013.
The victim filed a federal lawsuit against Theriot on Jan. 17 claiming that he'd responded to a call that she was heavily intoxicated, and instead of waiting for an ambulance took her to a gas station and bought her more alcohol. The suit claimed Theriot forced her to perform oral sex on him in the cruiser, and that she was taken back to his office and kept bound with his belt and handcuffs while he continued to sexually assault her.
The victim's attorney said after the incident Theriot continued to call and sexually harass the victim until the lawsuit was filed.
Theriot stepped down from his position as police chief Friday as part of a plea deal with federal authorities. He also gave up his right to appeal the decision, and faces a sentence of up to five years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
Sentencing for Theriot is set for May.
After Theriot's appearance in court, Ascension Parish Sheriff Jeff Wiley said deputies will continue to patrol the streets of Sorrento during the agreed-upon times of weekends and weeknights unless there is an emergency.
"Right now, the town still has a full-time police officer whose job is to patrol from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and the Sheriff's Office will be on duty in Sorrento at all other times, " Sheriff Wiley said.
But, he added when the lone police officer in Sorrento is unavailable during his shift, "we will respond regardless of the hour of the day or the day of the week."
Wiley also told WBRZ News 2 there is an on-going sheriff's office investigation into the alleged sexual assault.