Ex-Sorrento Police Chief Earl Theriot sentenced to 24 months probation
SORRENTO, LA (WAFB) - The former police chief of Sorrento was sentenced Thursday in federal court to 24 months probation with no jail time on a charge of lying to the FBI in a sexual assault investigation.
Earl Theriot was also ordered to pay $2,500 in fines immediately. Theriot apologized in court for his actions and said he has to carry this burden for the rest of his life. Prior to the sentencing, the judge said Theriot was facing anywhere 0 to 6 months in prison.
"It's a matter that cost me my law enforcement career and brought embarrassment to my family and town of Sorrento," Theriot said in court after the sentencing.
Theriot had no comments after the sentencing hearing.
"It's more than an embarrassing situation," Asst. US Attorney Alan Stevens said. "It's unfortunate. [It] all took place under the color of law."
"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."
Theriot took a plea deal that forced him to resign as chief. He admitted to a judge that as police chief, he took a drunk woman to his office and forced her to perform sexual acts. He then admitted to lying about that to federal investigators.
Jackson added Theriot's age of 66, health problems and that he was remorseful worked in his favor. Although Theriot apologized to everyone in the courtroom for his actions, he never apologized specifically to the victim. The civil lawsuit against Theriot is still ongoing. No trial date has been set.
During a hearing on Feb. 10, 2014, the US attorney said Theriot admitted that on Nov. 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.
According to the US 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.
On Feb. 7, 2014, Theriot resigned as chief of police as required by the plea agreement with the US Attorney's Office. On Feb. 6, 2014, Theriot sent a letter to the mayor of Sorrento and councilmen announcing his retirement and that it would begin the next day.
Copyright 2014 WAFB. All rights reserved.