Defendant’s Sons: No Abuse

By Debra Lemoine
The Advocate

August 28, 2008

Elder son: Church taught sinful thoughts same as action

AMITE — The elder son of Louis D. Lamonica said on the witness stand Wednesday that his thoughts of being raped by his father and others are fuzzy because he made them up.

As they did in a previous trial, both of Lamonica’s sons recanted on the witness stand their previous allegations that they had been sexually abused by their father.

Lamonica, 49, of Hammond, on trial for the aggravated rape of his two sons, is a former pastor of the now-defunct Hosanna Church in Ponchatoula. Seven members of the Hosanna Church congregation were indicted in 2005 on charges of sexually abusing three children.

Lamonica is accused of four counts of aggravated rape of his sons while they were 11 or younger. They are now ages 22 and 18.

“The question is why would you say things that were so horrible if it wasn’t true,” defense attorney Michael Thiel asked the elder son. “I think that’s what everyone wants to know.”

The elder son had told authorities that his memories of the abuse are blurry, which he said means that his memories of the abuse aren’t real.

“You can’t have as much detail as a real memory,” the elder son testified. “I can’t remember time or what everyone was wearing or things.”

The 22-year-old man further explained that he couldn’t link the rapes to specific events in his life, such as taking a math test in school or going to see a movie.

Instead, the memories were created because of suggestions made by his mother or another church member, Nicole Bernard. Ideas about how the abuse could occur came to him because he was told to write about specific aspects of the abuse by his mother, the elder son testified. Both boys wrote hundreds of pages detailing abuse by their father and other church members.

“If it was something that happened all the time and it was normal to you, you might have a hazy memory,” Assistant District Attorney Don Wall suggested to the young man.

The elder son also said on the witness stand that he was taught at church that sinful thoughts are the same as doing the acts. Therefore, he was told that if he thought it, he should write it down because it probably happened.

“At my church, I was taught that if you thought about it, it carried on into the physical (world),” the elder son said.

“If I thought about killing someone, then there would be a dead body?” Wall asked.

“It can, but it doesn’t always happen like that,” the young man replied.

Wall also asked the elder son what he had hoped to gain by telling authorities that his father abused him.

The elder son replied he lied about the abuse so he wouldn’t get in trouble and so the truth would come out. He added that he thought law enforcement authorities would do a better investigation and find the truth.

“In order to get to the truth, you start with a lie?” Wall asked.

“I was thinking it might be the truth. It might be a lie,” the elder son replied.

The 18-year-old son said on the witness stand that he began talking and writing about the alleged abuse after his mother locked him inside his bedroom for five months with nothing but a mattress in the room.

Both brothers related a tale where the younger rejected a Christmas present given to him by another church member, Lois Mowbray, in December 2001. After the younger son failed to satisfy Mowbray when she called him before the congregation to confess this “sin,” his mother locked him in the room for five months.

“I really wasn’t putting together the pieces that it would end up like this,” the younger son said.

However, the dates of the writings and their previous statements to authorities indicated the younger son began talking about the abuse to his mother in 2004.

The younger son did not remember as much as his elder brother about whom he told about the abuse. He maintained on the witness stand that he never told his psychiatrist, Dr. Milton Anderson, about the abuse. Anderson testified Tuesday that both brothers talked about the abuse.

“I don’t want to say he is incorrect,” the younger man said. “I was told not to say anything about it (to Anderson) because I would mess up.”

As soon as he was away from his mother and other church members, the younger son testified, the threat of being punished was gone and he felt he could finally tell the truth.

“Once I got away from the church, period, I could say the truth without having to worry about all this other stuff.”

The further testimony of the younger son is set to continue at 9 a.m. today in state District Judge Zoey Waguespack’s 21st Judicial District courtroom.


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