Defense motions to throw out evidence in priest's case

By Johnathan Manning
American Press
May 10, 2015

Mark Broussard

Defense attorneys for a former Calcasieu priest accused of sex crimes have asked a judge to rule that evidence of allegations of other crimes not be entered into evidence during trial.

Mark Anthony Broussard is to stand trial Sept. 21 on allegations that he molested and raped boys while serving as a parish priest between 1986 and 1991. He is facing five sex charges, including two counts of aggravated rape.

Broussard was indicted on 224 counts of sexual abuse, but the charges were amended first to 10 counts then to five counts after it was found that the statute of limitations had expired on five of the charges.

Defense attorneys Tom and Dan Lorenzi have filed two motions, one asking Judge David Ritchie to order that mention of the other five counts be impermissible and another asking that certain parts of Broussard’s interview with Calcasieu sheriff’s detectives be redacted.

“(Broussard) has no prior criminal history and the introduction of these alleged ‘other crimes’ will serve no purpose other than to prejudice the jurors into attaching a nationally perpetuated stigma onto defendant,” reads one motion.

“A person is to be tried for what they’re charged with and certain types of other evidence is permissible. That’s part of what the court has to rule on,” Tom Lorenzi said Thursday. “As far as the video is concerned, the court has to make a ruling what’s admissible there, what’s not admissible.”

Ritchie has ruled on the video before. The defense previously asked that it be thrown out because Broussard requested an attorney 10 minutes into the interview. After the request Broussard then continued speaking to the detectives without prompting. Ritchie ruled that the request for an attorney was not unequivocal.

In the video statement, Broussard denied molesting the boys who are accusing him, but admitted to molesting other boys. That statement is some of what the defense wants redacted.

“(The law) allows that evidence to come in,” prosecutor Cynthia Killingsworth said. “It’s not the same as regular other crimes evidence. This is lustful disposition evidence, and that’s judged by a whole different set of rules.”

The motion requests “multiple references to other crimes or offenses for which defendant is not under indictment” be removed before the tape is presented to a jury. Some of the tape is likely to be redacted, and a compromise may be reached without Ritchie ruling, both sides said.

“When (law officers do) an interview, they talk to a defendant about lots of things, some of which shouldn’t be heard by a jury and that’s what that’s about,” Killingsworth said.

Ritchie is expected to rule on the other crimes motion June 4 and on the video redaction Aug. 13.

There is also a state’s motion to quash a subpoena for medical records, but Killingsworth said she believes the motion to be moot.


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