Couple deny child sex abuse

A Texas couple accused of sexually abusing their children in the name of religion pleaded not guilty Monday in Sacramento to federal charges of interstate transportation of minors for unlawful purposes.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Gregory G. Hollows found Michael Labrecque, 44, and his wife, Juliette, 45, to be dangerous and ordered them held without bail.

An Oct. 8 status conference was set before U.S. District Judge William B. Shubb.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Laurel White told the magistrate judge that she expects the grand jury indictment of the Labrecques to be replaced with one that also charges the couple’s alleged cult leader, Allen Harrod, and his wife, Irene, of Folsom.

The Harrods currently are charged in state and federal courts with long-term, aggravated sexual abuse of their children in accord with Allen Harrod’s interpretation of religious doctrine.

While the Labrecques were being arraigned, the Harrods were in Sacramento Superior Court in connection with Deputy District Attorney Chris Ore’s attempt to join two cases pending against them. The state charges involve four alleged victims who are children of either the Harrods or the Labrecques.

The hearing was continued to later this week. The state case has been delayed repeatedly. Last week, a Superior Court judge removed one of the impediments with a ruling that Allen Harrod is competent to participate in his defense.

The two couples met when the men were stationed at McClellan Air Force Base, and they kept in close touch. When the Harrods were arrested two years ago, several of the Labrecques’ daughters were living with them and their own children.

Self-proclaimed prophet Allen Harrod’s scriptural interpretations allegedly provided the basis for rituals of sexual abuse.

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