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Accused rapist released on bond after being held for more than a year, lawmaker worried about victims

1 year 3 months 1 week ago Wednesday, April 12 2023 Apr 12, 2023 April 12, 2023 5:50 PM April 12, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

LIVINGSTON - State Senator Regina Barrow told WBRZ Wednesday, she didn't agree with bond being set for an accused child rapist who has remained in custody since his arrest in 2021.

"He should not have been given a bond, and they need to pick him back up," Barrow said.

Barrow has been passionate about this case since it came to light in the fall of 2021. She sits on a committee for women and children at the capitol.

John Mack was allowed out of jail on a $250,000 bond, officials confirmed Tuesday. Bond records obtained by the Investigative Unit show he posted a property bond. He was previously held without bond by order of a judge but was granted bail at the request of his attorney, who argued that Mack is elderly and has been jailed since his arrest. After repeated continuances, the judge granted a bond for Mack Monday.

While out on bond, Mack will remain under house arrest and be subject to tracking via an ankle monitor. He's only allowed to leave his home for doctor visits, meetings with his attorney or court appointments. He's also under a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. curfew. 

Officials in Livingston Parish say jury selection was scheduled for Tuesday but was canceled, delaying the trial. 

Mack's lawyer John McClindon said he has pushed for a quick trial in this case because his client has been locked up without bond since his arrest. McClindon said the Attorney General's Office recently turned over new evidence, and there was not enough time to get through it.

“We were prepared to go to trial in May and stand ready to do so; unfortunately the defense attorney requested a continuance and got the trial pushed back further," Leon Cannizzaro, Criminal Division Director at the Louisiana Department of Justice said. "At Monday's bond hearing, we presented evidence that highlighted our concern for the safety of the victim(s) and the public. Additionally, within three days of verifying the discovery information, we turned it over to defense counsel. Anything insisting otherwise is spin.”

Mack has been awaiting trial since February 2022, when a grand jury indicted him for aggravated first-degree rape, three counts of sexual battery and two counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile.

The case, which involved a child in foster care, was the subject of several WBRZ Investigative Unit reports and Senate committee hearings.

The victim's current guardian said the teen, who was 6 when the alleged abuse started, tried to report it for nearly a decade and went through multiple forensic interviews with law enforcement during that time, but nothing was done. 

"This was not a first time," Sen. Regina Barrow, said. "This was not a second time. It had happened multiple times and multiple people knew about it, and nobody did nothing. That to me in inexcusable."

The State Inspector General announced in 2021 it was investigating the failures. The agency said that investigation is ongoing.

Mack is related to a state representative and a Livingston Parish councilman, both of whom say they've had no contact with him for more than a decade. The Louisiana Attorney General's Office took over the prosecution after Livingston Parish DA Scott Perrilloux recused his office.

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