New Orleans East pastor's retrial on molestation charge set for March

By Ken Daley
December 28, 2016

Kevin Boyd Sr., the 47-year-old 'presiding bishop' of The Church At New Orleans in New Orleans East, is scheduled to be tried for a second time on juvenile molestation charges March 27.

A New Orleans East pastor accused of molesting a young male member of his congregation is set to be tried for a second time in March.

Court records show Kevin Boyd Sr., the 47-year-old "presiding bishop" of The Church At New Orleans, is to stand trial again March 27 on a charge of recurring molestation of a juvenile. The scheduled retrial would come 16 months after a six-person jury deadlocked on the same case after a weeklong trial concluded Nov. 17, 2015.

Verdicts from a six-person jury -- used when the charges under consideration don't necessarily mandate hard labor -- must be unanimous under state law. The panel in Boyd's first trial declared itself hopelessly hung after about four hours of deliberations. Boyd, described in his first trial as a "monster" by state prosecutors, has remained free on a $300,000 bond.

Boyd appeared before Criminal District Judge Camille Buras on Dec. 2 with attorney Kimya Holmes, receiving the court's permission to travel out of state after his scheduled Dec. 5 trial date was postponed. Both Judge Buras and assistant district attorney Jason Napoli, who will prosecute the case, were preparing for the Dec. 5 start of the Cardell Hayes trial in the killing of former Saints star Will Smith.

Boyd's accuser, now 28, testified in the first trial for parts of three days. He said he was sexually molested with increasing severity by the pastor after being left in Boyd's care by his trusting single mother. The accuser said the abuse began around 1999 when he was 12, and continued for about five years.

A second purported victim testified that he had endured similar abuse from Boyd years earlier, but the pastor's trial charge related only to the younger victim. | The Times-Picayune generally does not identify persons alleging they were victims of sexual assaults.

Defense attorneys Kerry Cuccia and Holmes suggested a vendetta against Boyd, orchestrated by a church leader whom Boyd fired as pastor of another congregation he manages, The Church at Jackson, in Mississippi. Cuccia said the fired pastor, Lionel J. Traylor, helped the accuser file lawsuits against Boyd in 2010 in Mississippi and 2011 in New Orleans' federal court.

The defense attorney had the jury read several of Traylor's Facebook posts that Cuccia said demonstrated enmity for Boyd, including one that read, "I once was told I was too great for a certain house. My response: Keep the house, I'm taking the land."

Assistant district attorneys Andrew DeCoste and Diana Netterville, who prosecuted Boyd in the first trial, won't reprise their roles. DeCoste has become a prosecutor in Jefferson Parish, while Netterville left DA Leon Cannizzaro's office to take a job as Buras' law clerk.


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