FF arrested in child sex cult investigation
This has been all over the local news since it broke earlier this week. A strange case of a church that turned into a cult and sexually abused kids and included them in ceremonies involving animals and 'satanic' rituals.
More arrests made in cult sex case
By Aimee Yee
Daily Star Staff Writer
Two more men were arrested Wednesday in connection with the Hosanna Church sex scandal, and more arrests are expected.
A third man was arrested Wednesday afternoon, and by 6 p.m. that evening, a fourth man was in police custody.
Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff Daniel Edwards said during a press conference at the sheriff's substation that more arrests, including those of church members, would follow in the next weeks and months of the ongoing investigation.
Austin Aaron Bernard III, 36, whose address is listed as Southwest Railroad Avenue in Hammond, was arrested early in the afternoon on a charge of aggravated rape of a juvenile under the age of 13.
Bernard confessed to detectives that he had sexual relations with a juvenile around November 2002 and admitted to having knowledge of the sexual acts with children that occurred at Hosanna Church in Ponchatoula. The church is located halfway between Highway 22 in Ponchatoula and Interstate 12 in Hammond on U.S. Highway 51.
Sheriff's Juvenile Crimes Investigator Reginald Bryand later arrested Allen R. Pierson, 46, on one count of aggravated rape, according to parish jail records. Police list his address as 2575 S.W. Railroad Ave., in Ponchatoula.
The suspect was the second one arrested who listed his residence of that of the church compound. Deputy Christopher Labat also listed his address as that of the church compound. Edwards confirmed Labat lived there at one time.
According to the warrant filed against Pierson, he allegedly knowingly engaged in sexual intercourse with a girl, who was 9 to 10 years old at the time of the offense, according to investigators. The victim is now 13.
Edwards didn't know why Louis Lamonica suddenly turned himself in to authorities at the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office on Monday for aggravated rape and a charge of crime against nature, which Edwards said stemmed from the alleged sexual misconduct of animals at the church.
The victims' ages range from infancy to adolescence, Edwards confirmed.
Lamonica, 45, of Holden, is the pastor of the church, which is affiliated with the Church of God in Christ. He's reportedly telling authorities all that he knows and implicating other suspects who were involved, Edwards said.
There's no number yet on how many children were abused or how many animals, although Edwards did specify that cats and dogs were involved in the misconduct, which he said was part of what the public would call a cult.
"The pastor and some of these members formed a cult and did these activities that included animals," Edwards said.
Many of the sex acts took place at the church, according to statements from victims and the pastor.
A second man, sheriff's Deputy Christopher Blair Labat, was arrested Tuesday but not placed in the general prison population. Labat, 24, of Lumino Lane in Hammond, is on suicide watch and was fired from the sheriff's office immediately after his arrest. He is currently a part-time firefighter in Baptist and has served as a volunteer firefighter in Natalbany. He is a 1999 graduate of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School in Hammond.
It appears that the last allegation of abuse actually occurred from about six months or two years ago, Edwards said, when membership began to dwindle.
Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigations raided the church Tuesday evening, seizing two computers that are being checked by other authorities for child pornography, which is a federal crime.
Pictures are believed to have been taken of some of the sexual acts involving children and animals, and law enforcement is trying to determine if that is so, he said.
Carpet was also seized by the State Police Crime Lab, to be analyzed for DNA, and will be part of the evidence used to build a strong case against the suspects involved so that 21st Judicial District Attorney Scott Perrilloux can prosecute.
Because of the ages of some of the victims, Perrilloux could seek the death penalty since the statutory requirements are met, qualifying some charges as capital charges.
The investigation continues today with officers from Ponchatoula, Livingston, Tangipahoa, and the FBI to hold a joint intelligent briefing for the law enforcement officers involved in the investigation to share intelligence data, Edwards said.
There's alot more to this story and 8 people have been arrested so far as reports of devil worship come out. Other news reports can be seen at-
VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY