GONZALES, LA (WAFB) - A six-person jury in Ascension Parish has found Owen Ockman Jr., a former Sorrento and Gonzales police officer, guilty of indecent behavior with a juvenile.
The jury took a little over two hours to reach the verdict. The victim's family had their arms around her as the verdict was read.
Ockman, 35, will be back in court on November 16 for sentencing. He faces up to seven years in jail.
Ockman has until 4 p.m. Friday to turn himself in. The judge set a post-conviction bond at $75,000 and added bail restriction that Ockman not contact the victim or any member of her family.
"We couldn't be happier with the outcome of what has been a long and painful process for the victim of Mr. Ockman," said Assistant District Attorney Joni Buquoi, who tried the case for the 23rd Judicial DA. "Justice was served today, and although that won't change the circumstances of what his victim went through, it will hopefully go a long way in not only allowing her to begin a road to recovery, but also allow other victims of similar crimes the strength to stand up and face their aggressors, knowing that we will continue fighting for their voices and stories to be heard. This is a wonderful day for all involved in seeing that Mr. Ockman pays for his crime."
The trial lasted two days. Prosecutors and defense attorneys called several witnesses including the victim and Ockman.
The victim testified Wednesday that for four years while she was in high school Ockman touched her inappropriately when everyone was sleeping, when she was in the pool, taking her away on the family golf cart.
Ockman took the stand Thursday saying he never did any of those things. He said if he had touched her, it was rubbing her back or her belly if she was sick and that the victim had misunderstood his touch.
During closing arguments, prosecutors said Ockman violated the power given to him as a law enforcement officer. The prosecutors said Ockman waited for the right times to inappropriately touch the victim.
Prosecutors questioned why Ockman texted the victim when the allegations came out, saying "don't talk to anyone until you talk to me first." They said there was also a phone call where Ockman told the victim, who was 14 at the time, "don't tell the worst parts." He then apologized and told her parents "she's not lying, but I don't remember."
Ockman's wife also testified that she told the victim her husband never should have done it and "you should have said no."
During his testimony, Ockman said he had never been accused of anything like this before. However, prosecutors pointed out that when the defendant was 17, a younger girl accused him of similar acts.
Ockman's attorney said inappropriate touching does not mean it was sexual. He said the victim kept going back to the house where the alleged abuse happened for four years.
The defense attorney said the victim wants to be a writer and this case is about her finishing the story. The defense said that what Ockman is guilty of is a misunderstanding.
Ockman also said he intended to go back to work as a Gonzales Police officer once this case is over.