AMITE, La. (AP) ó Seven of the suspects arrested in connection with an alleged church cult accused of performing sexual acts involving children and animals were booked on new charges Thursday afternoon.
The additional counts came a day after an attorney for the pastor accused of participating in the child sex ring contended that information released about his client would not hold up in court.
Louis Lamonica, who was pastor of the Hosanna Church in Ponchatoula, is one of the nine charged in connection with allegations of occult-type rituals at the church from 1999 to 2003.
Defense attorney Michael Thiel said Wednesday that he not seen any statement from his client implicating himself, which authorities in Livingston Parish said were used to arrest him on May 16.
“Generally, I believe there’s been a rush to judge based on conjecture, rumors and leaks to the media,” Thiel said.
Lamonica, 45, already had been charged with two counts of aggravated rape and one count of crime against nature in Livingston Parish. His wife, Robbin Lamonica, 45, was initially booked with one count of aggravated rape. Both were being held without bond.
The new charges filed Thursday in Tangipahoa Parish also name the Lamonicas.
Louis Lamonica was charged with one new count of aggravated rape of a juvenile under 13, two new counts of aggravated rape and two new counts of aggravated incest. Tangipahoa authorities charged Robbin Lamonica with two new counts of aggravated rape.
Also facing new charges Thursday were Patricia Pierson, Paul Fontenot, Allen R. Pierson, Nicole Bernard and Chris Labat.
Patricia Pierson, 54, who was arrested May 23 on the charges of sexual battery and principle to aggravated rape of a juvenile, was charged with two additional counts of principle to aggravated rape.
Allen R. Pierson, 46, who was arrested May 18 on one count of aggravated rape, was charged with three additional counts of aggravated rape.
Fontenot, 21, was arrested May 19 on one count of aggravated rape. He was charged with two additional counts of aggravated rape and one charge of aggravated incest.
Bernard was booked into the Tangipahoa Parish jail May 25 on one count of aggravated rape and received an additional charge of aggravated rape.
Labat, a 24-year-old former Sheriff’s deputy, was arrested May 17 on one count of aggravated rape. He was charged Thursday with two additional counts of aggravated rape, one count of failure to report child abuse and one charge of malfeasance in office.
Deputies said even more charges were expected against Labat.
Louis Lamonica is accused of having sex with two boys since they were age 5 and having sex with the family dog, according to the warrants in Tangipahoa Parish. The warrants also allege that Lamonica showed the children how to have sex with the animal.
Robbin Lamonica is accused of having sex with a boy for about eight years from the time he was around 4, according to the warrant.
District Attorney Scott Perrilloux said he plans to convene a grand jury June 24 to hear the charges. Eight of the nine accused were arrested on charges of aggravated rape of a child under 13, which carries a possible death penalty.