Louisiana police Chief Earl Theriot admits he committed sex acts with an unresponsive woman while responding to a 911 call and lying to the FBI about it. However, that admission of guilt wasn’t enough to get Theriot more than a slap on the wrist. Theriot was sentenced to no jail time, but instead a $2,500 fine and 24 months probation.
WAFB reports that Theriot admitted that on November 1, 2013, while serving as the Sorrento police chief, he responded to a 911 call about an unresponsive individual at a gas station. Theriot admitted that he put her in the front seat of his police unit and instead of taking her home, he took her to his office at the Sorrento Police Department, where he engaged in inappropriate sexual contact with her.
Though the former police chief admits to having sexual contact with the woman who was in his custody, no charges were filed for sexual assault. In fact, the federal courts seemed more concerned that Theriot had lied to FBI agents about the incident than the actual assault that took place.
“You believed yourself to be above the law,” District Judge Brian Jackson said to Theriot. “The issues your police department is having are because of you.”
However, there was no mention of the actual victim of the sexual assault in the proceedings. Theriot apologized to his family and city, but did not offer any acknowledgement of the victim.
“It’s a matter that cost me my law enforcement career and brought embarrassment to my family and town of Sorrento.”
So why was the former police chief not charged with sexual assault or receiving jail time? The Creole notes that the judge took numerous things into account, some of which may be inaccurate, when determining Theriot’s sentence.
“Theriot’s counsel, Roger Jordan, listed the mitigating circumstances which, he argued, should lessen the severity Theriot’s sentence.
- ‘He’s lost so much already’ by which the lawyer meant Theriot’s law enforcement career.
- Theriot is a Vietnam War veteran, having participated in 15-20 firefights.
- His failing health includes diabetes which the lawyer claimed is a product of Agent Orange exposure in Vietnam.
- This was a singular event in Theriot’s life; i.e. he’s never engaged in similar activity.
‘Earl Theriot is a prime candidate for probation,’ he concluded.”
However, The Creole notes that point four is inaccurate, stating the City of Sorrento paid six-figures to one of Theriot’s deputies who claimed he sexually harassed her. Regardless of the previous incident, what about the sexual assault charges? The police chief said the sexual encounter was consensual. It was his word against hers. However, in the 911 call the caller distinctively says the woman is unresponsive. How could a woman so drunk that she is unresponsive consent to the sexual acts?
The victim has now filed a civil suit against Theriot. The suit notes some startling details, including that the woman was strapped to a chair in the police station with one of Theriot’s belts while he made her perform oral sex on him. Theriot then left the woman bound to the chair as he went to a meeting elsewhere in the building. When the former police chief left, the woman was able to get to her cell phone and call her boyfriend for help. The boyfriend picked her up from the police station in a tattered state, and the police chief handed him a half empty bottle of vodka, according to the civil suit.
It isn’t only police chiefs who have been caught with sexual misconduct on duty. A retired Flint police officer faced 16 counts of sexually assaulting children on duty.
What do you think of the federal judge overlooking past indiscretions and the victim’s statements? Should the loss of a job, veteran status, and embarrassment be a suitable punishment for a police chief giving false statements to the FBI and performing sexual acts with a woman under his care?