By Amber Stegall
SORRENTO (WAFB) - According to United States Attorney Walt Green, Sorrento Police Chief Earl Theriot pleaded guilty to making false statements to an FBI Special Agent in connection with a criminal civil rights investigation.
At Monday's hearing, the US Attorney says 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 local 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.
According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Theriot also admitted to later making numerous false statements to an FBI Special Agent and a deputy with the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office, who were investigating whether Theriot violated federal civil rights laws, among other things.
"Today, Chief Theriot accepted responsibility for his conduct. He apologizes to the community and citizens of Sorrento for his lapse in judgement," said Theriot's attorney, Roger Jordan. Jordan went on to say that his client hopes that this incident will not be a reflection on the 40 years he's spent in law enforcement.
Jordan declined to comment on how the former chief's guilty plea will affect the civil lawsuit the victim has filed against him.
On February 7, 2014, Theriot resigned as Chief of Police as required by the Plea Agreement with the United States Attorney's Office. On February 6, 2014, Theriot sent a letter to the Mayor of Sorrento and Councilmen announcing his retirement and that it would begin on February 7, 2014.
Theriot will not be allowed to appeal his conviction or his sentence, as terms of the plea deal.
To read the full Bill of Information, click here: http://bit.ly/1aDBe0Z
To read the sexual assault court documents, click here: http://bit.ly/1lHTNGe
Theriot faces up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine of up to $250,000.
Theriot will be sentenced May 22, 2014.