Man sentenced to 15 years for sexually assaulting girlfriend

Published 12:11 am Wednesday, April 3, 2019

PAULINA — An area man’s long and complicated march through the legal system following his sexual assault arrest three years ago came near its end last week with a 15-year jail sentence.

Public Information Officer Tyler Cavalier for 23rd Judicial District Attorney Ricky L. Babin’s office, which prosecuted the case, did note the D.A.’s office intends to file a habitual offender bill, which could greatly increase the sentence.

Judge Tess Stromberg officially sentenced 33-year-old Gene Franklin of Lutcher on March 25 following his conviction of second degree sexual battery.

Stromberg ordered Franklin’s sentence served at hard labor and without benefit of probation or parole.

A St. James Parish Jury found Franklin guilty Sept. 26 in a case prosecuted by Assistant D.A. Adam Koenig.

Stromberg deferred sentencing pending a pre-sentence investigation.

The case against Franklin launched Oct. 29, 2016, when St. James Sheriff’s detectives were dispatched to a home in reference to a sexual battery.

Detectives learned Franklin, after making sexual advances toward the victim, identified as his girlfriend, and being denied, inserted some type of object into the victim’s private area, causing damage to her body.

The victim told police she wanted to pursue charges because this was not the first time she was abused after refusing to have sex with Franklin.

Franklin was subsequently arrested and booked into the St. James Parish jail.

Franklin had previously pleaded guilty to sexual battery on July 25, 2017.

Sentencing was deferred to a later date at that time, pending a pre-sentence investigation. However, prior to sentencing, a motion to withdraw the guilty plea was filed on behalf of Franklin, and he was allowed to withdraw his guilty plea based on the circumstances surrounding it.

That withdrawal led to his jury trial in fall of 2018.