A Larose man accused of raping a teenage girl three years ago was found not guilty last week following a four-day trial.
Taylor Fontenot, 21, was one of three men charged with sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl on Aug. 9, 2015. He was charged with third-degree rape because the victim was allegedly intoxicated, which prevented her from resisting or understanding the nature of the act, prosecutors said.
Following nearly six hours of deliberation, the jury voted 10-2 to acquit Fontenot, who could have faced up to 25 years in prison if convicted.
Charges for the two other suspects, Dillon Bergeron, 21, and Davery Gaspard, 31, are still pending, prosecutors said.
Bergeron is charged with sexual battery and is scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 19 and Gaspard is charged with third-degree rape and will stand trial on Feb. 25.
Thibodaux attorney, Ben Comeaux, who represented Fontenot, hailed the verdict.
“Taylor Fontenot lost the last three years of his life being accused of this crime,” Comeaux said. “For the last three years he’s felt like he’s been looked at like a monster. Today is a great day for the justice system. He has proven his innocence for this charge. Unfortunately the justice system is slow, but it works. Now he’s going to be able to be with his child and not register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.”
Comeaux criticized the victim’s credibility in the case and said she changed her statements several times during the trial.
Although disappointed in the verdict, prosecutors thanked the jury for their time and diligence.
“We always admire the work that juries put into these cases” said District Attorney Kristine Russell. “They take their job seriously, and we always respect their verdicts. This case is no exception. While we are certainly disappointed, we support our victim, as we do all victims of sexual assault and abuse. We will continue to fight on their behalf.”
-- Daily Comet Staff Writer Dan Copp can be reached at 857-2202 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter@DanVCopp.
Posted on Tue, October 30, 2018
by By Dan Copp Daily Comet Staff Writer