BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Baton Rouge school board member Connie Bernard pleaded guilty to entering and remaining after being forbidden Wednesday, Dec. 23, The Advocate newspaper reports.
Bernard was due in court January fourth related to the leak of an explicit video in which she appeared to be involved in a physical and verbal dispute with a teenager on Friday, Aug. 10, 2018.
The original video appears to show Bernard entering a neighbor’s home, where a party was happening, to investigate and take photos.
One party-goer seized Bernard’s phone, offering to return it once she agreed to leave the home.
In the video, Bernard can be heard screaming “call 911” before grabbing the young man in the neck area and again demanding her phone.
Deputies arrived on scene and issued Bernard a summons for her actions.
Bernard wasn’t charged until much later. East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore said he waited months before filing charges in an attempt to allow Bernard’s legal team to provide information about the incident on her behalf, but a lack of response from them ultimately led to him formally charging Bernard.
Later an attorney pleaded not guilty on her behalf to misdemeanor entering and remaining after forbidden, and simple battery charges.
The Advocate report says Bernard switched that plea Wednesday pleading guilty to the entering and remaining charge.
The battery charge was dismissed by prosecutors, the report says.
Moore told the Advocate the charge was dismissed after consultation with the victim,, according to the report.
“These charges have generated much media and public interest. The facts of this case were particularly concerning given the public office that Ms. Bernard holds,” Moore told the newspaper. “The seriousness of the facts of Ms. Bernard’s case, her criminal history, and ultimately the wishes of the family were all considerations in the resolution of her case.”
State District Judge Ron Johnson gave Bernard three months of unsupervised probation, fined her $300, and ordered her to perform 20 hours of court-approved community service work, according to the report. Johnson also ordered Bernard to complete the court’s effective decision-making school, write a letter of apology to the victim’s family, and pay $235 in court costs, the report says.
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