Coach indicted on molestation charges

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 24, 1999

LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / August 24, 1999

NORCO – Brian Matherne was indicted Monday by the St. Charles Parishgrand jury for 19 counts of felony sexual abuse, including four counts of aggravated crime against nature. He faces a possible 274 and 1/2 years inprison if convicted and given the maximum sentence.

He is due to be arraigned today at 1 p.m. before 29th Judicial DistrictJudge Robert Chaisson.

According to Kim McElwee, an assistant district attorney for District Attorney Harry Morel’s office, the potential penalty represents the maximum of15 years for each felony and six months for each of nine misdemeanor counts of contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile.

Matherne, 44, of Norco, was booked by the St. Charles Sheriff’s Officewith 306 counts of molestation of a juvenile, 60 counts of sexual battery, 30 counts of oral sexual battery, 10 counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile, 10 counts of contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile and two counts of carnal knowledge of a juvenile.

The charges involve 11 boys, all between the ages of 11 and 17, allegedly committed between June 1985 and June 1999, a 13-year period, at a hunting camp in the LaBranche Wetlands.

Matherne, formerly a coach and teacher at Sacred Heart School in Norco for 20 years, continues to claim his innocence.

“The evidence was really strong,” McElwee said. She continued thattestimony was heard from 11 alleged victims, now ranging in age from 14 to 25, and added, “I understand more people are coming forward.”She also explained the reason the district attorney’s office did not push for indictment on the hundreds of counts is because appelate courts have ruled “you can’t charge on that many counts” unless the prosecution is able to be more specific as to dates. “You can’t speculate on this,”McElwee said.

She also explained the prosecution cannot ask for indictments when the victims are age 28 or up in these sort of cases, as the law allows the victims 10 years in which to come forward after they reach the age of 17.

If convicted, the minimum penalty on the 19 counts is 95 years, without benefit of probation, suspension or parole. This means, she continued, evenwith the minimum penalty, if convicted, “he would never get out” and she added practically any judge would mandate consecutive sentences due to the nature of the crime.

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