September 18, 2014

Former Sorrento Police Chief Sentenced for Making False Statements in Civil Rights Investigation

BATON ROUGE, LA—United States Attorney Walt Green announced that EARL L. THERIOT, age 66, of Sorrento, Louisiana, was sentenced today by Chief U.S. District Judge Brian A. Jackson to serve twenty-four (24) months of probation as a result of his conviction for making false statements to an FBI Special Agent in connection with a criminal civil rights investigation. THERIOT was also ordered to pay a $2,500 fine.

THERIOT had previously admitted that on November 1, 2013, while serving as the Chief of Police for the Town of Sorrento and following a 911 emergency police dispatch, he contacted an unresponsive individual at a local gas station, placed her in the front seat of his police unit, and, instead of bringing her back to her residence, transported her to his office at the Sorrento Police Department where he engaged in inappropriate sexual contact with her. THERIOT later pled guilty to 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. As a result of this prosecution, THERIOT also resigned as Chief of Police.

United States Attorney Green stated: “This defendant had no business being in a position of law enforcement authority. The people of Sorrento deserve better. I am pleased that our office played a key role in his removal and felony conviction, and I am proud of the cooperation between all the federal and state agencies. I am particularly grateful to Sheriff Jeff Wiley of the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office, District Attorney Ricky Babin of the 23rd Judicial District, and the FBI, all of whom worked closely with my office to ensure that the defendant would be removed from his position of trust and that his criminal activity would be addressed.”

This prosecution and investigation were conducted jointly by the United States Attorney’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office, and the District Attorney’s Office for the 23rd Judicial District.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Chris Dippel and Alan Stevens.