AMITE — The 21st Judicial District Attorney’s Office still plans to call a grand jury on June 24 to seek indictments of the nine members of a Ponchatoula church allegedly involved in a child-sex ring, prosecutor Don Wall said Thursday.
The Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate the case involving nine people who allegedly had sex with children as part of occult rituals out of Hosanna Church in Ponchatoula, Laura Covington, Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman, said.
There is no set deadline for investigators to turn over the case file to the District Attorney’s Office, she said.
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Nonetheless, Wall said he received several important documents Thursday, such as witness and suspect statements and interviews by investigators that he will use to prepare for the grand jury hearing.
In the meantime, Wall and District Attorney Scott Perrilloux have met regularly with the Sheriff’s Office investigators about the case. A district attorney must call a grand jury within 60 days of an arrest or the suspect can be released from jail, Wall said.
The grand jury will hear cases involving crimes allegedly committed in Tangipahoa Parish only. The church’s pastor and his wife, Louis David Lamonica and Robbin Lamonica, face prosecution in Livingston Parish on additional counts of aggravated rape of juveniles that investigators believe occurred at their Holden residence.
No decision has been made on whether to call a separate grand jury in Livingston Parish to charge the estranged couple on those counts, Wall and prosecutor Greg Murphy said.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled June 23 for Louis David Lamonica in Livingston.
Motions for preliminary hearings have been filed for many of the alleged cult members in Amite, but no court schedule was immediately available.