Monday, May 18, 2009

DNA excludes Houma man in Mardi Gras rape

Comment: Based on the news story below, the alleged rape at issue could not have happened. So why is there no mention of possibly charging the accuser (who is not named, of course) with making a false report? Sadly, these stories are so typical that they become mind-numbing after a time. Innocent men and boys falsely accused of rape are considered unfortunate but necessary collateral damage in the "more important" war on rape. As for the trauma that the young man in the news story suffered? Oh, well -- too bad. Nothing we can do about that. I mean, who really cares about that?

DNA excludes Houma man in Mardi Gras rape

HOUMA - A rape charge against a 24-year-old Houma man will be dropped after a DNA test and inconsistent statements convinced a grand jury there was insufficient evidence to support the accusation.

Barry Michael Deroche was charged with simple rape Feb. 17, two days after Houma Police said he forced a 47-year-old woman behind a building on the 7800 block of Main Street and raped her following a downtown Mardi Gras parade.

But a grand jury panel convened this week returned a verdict this afternoon of "no true bill," meaning the members feel the evidence does not support the charge.

"We got a DNA report, and the DNA report excluded Barry Deroche," Terrebonne First Assistant District Attorney Carlos Lazarus said Tuesday. "There were some inconsistencies in the stories, and the witnesses basically did not support any type of criminal activity."

Prosecutors will not pursue the charge, Lazarus said.

"There was a no true bill, and there are no other charges," he said. "The evidence is clear."

Deroche's attorney, Houma lawyer Jerri Smitko, said the case against her client was replete with inconsistencies and that police failed to properly evaluate the initial complaint.

"I would say that it was clearly a lack of appropriate investigation prior to making an arrest," she said.

Interim Houma Police Chief Todd Duplantis was not immediately available for comment.

But Sgt. Dana Coleman, a detective and a department spokesman, said officers take pains to make sure accusations are substantiated before filing charges.

"Obviously we are extremely overjoyed and grateful that justice was served by the return of the no true bill (for) Mr. Deroche," Smitko said. "His being wrongfully accused of such a heinous crime has been a horrendous ordeal for him and his family."

Deroche, who worked as a draftsman at the T. Baker Smith civil-engineering firm in Houma, took a leave of absence pending the resolution of the charge.

"Unfortunately, my client has been so traumatized that I can only hope and pray that he will be able to recover from this ordeal," Smitko said.