Victims lash out at Matherne as he’s sentenced

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 23, 2000

LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / February 23, 2000

HAHNVILLE – Victims of Brian Matherne had their day in court Tuesday, confronting the former Norco coach and teacher with the consequences of his crimes.

Matherne, 44, pled guilty Feb. 18 to 33 charges of child molestation andaggravated crime against nature.

“I hate you,” one young man said emphatically. “I hate what you did. I hatewhat you made me. I hate what my kids will suffer because of you. And, did Imention that I hate you?” Twenty-ninth Judicial District Judge Robert Chaisson sentenced Matherne to 29 years, 11 months and 29 days. He explained that if he had imposed a 30-year sentence, at that level Matherne might have been eligible for parole in 20 years.

This way, Chaisson said, Matherne will remain behind bars for the maximum time possible under the terms of the plea agreement.

Matherne originally faced a possible maximum sentence of 480 years. Hischarges include one count of attempted crime against nature, one count of attempted molestation of a juvenile, seven counts of aggravated crime against nature and 24 counts of molestation of a juvenile.

Chaisson told Matherne during sentencing, “What you have done is reprehensible. Your crimes have shaken our community to its very core. Youcome from a good and decent family. They certainly did not deserve thisfrom you.”Five victims came forward Tuesday, as well as the father of one of those four. Each declared the pain and suffering they have endured, and someadmitted they became drug addicts.

“What you did was wrong,” said one young man. “I know that you’re a sickperson, but 30, 40, 50 years is not enough.”Another young man struggled with his emotions before speaking: “I was taught forgiveness. But I hate you. From the bottom of my heart, I hate you.You have one more judgment day before the good Lord, and you have to live with that.”Throughout the statements from the victims, Matherne sat impassive and did not acknowledge anyone on the stand.

“I don’t know how you lived with it for so long,” another victim told Matherne in court.

The father of one of Matherne’s victims said he always told his children to beware of strangers. “Never in our deepest dreams did we ever thing wewould ever be betrayed by a friend we trusted and respected,” he said.

“Instead of enriching their minds, you poisoned them. Some may neverrecover from their ordeal.”That man’s son, now a young man himself, came to the stand and announced his full name, birth date and added, “Died years ago because of you, Brian Matherne. How can you ask for forgiveness when you have no idea of theeffect your sick acts are having on us?” This victim added, “For over a decade you sexually abused me. For more thana decade, you’ve been screwing me mentally.”He continued, “You are the only one I hate in this world. But you don’t controlme any more. You can no longer rape me.”He termed Matherne’s apology on Feb. 18 as “bogus,” and added, “You’re notsorry. You’re sorry you won’t be able to do it anymore. Have a nice life.”In addition to imposing sentence, Chaisson ordered that should Matherne live until release from prison, the standard sex-offender rules would apply for the 10 years following that release, including registering with police wherever he lives, informing his neighbors of his status and publishing a statement, with a photograph, in the newspaper.

He was also ordered to write a letter of apology to be published by a newspaper.

Asked by Chaisson where he intended to live after his release, Matherne made his only comment in court: “I really don’t know, your honor.”Trial was originally scheduled to begin yesterday. But District Attorney HarryMorel said that after Matherne’s arraignment on the final charges last week a witness Matherne hoped would testify on his behalf instead revealed himself to Morel as yet another victim.

Prosecutor Kim McElwee, who wore a white cross-and-ribbon pin in solidarity with Matherne’s victims, said the victims who spoke in court did so with “tremendous courage.”She also urged any child who has been similarly victimized to tell someone, adding, “It’s not your fault.”Morel pushed to have Matherne taken to Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola as soon as possible.

“We’ve had enough of him. It’s time he paid the piper,” the district attorneysaid.

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