Teen pleads to sexual assault

A former Tara High School student with a prior rape conviction pleaded guilty Tuesday in the February rape of a 14-year-old classmate in the school auditorium and was sentenced to nine years in prison.

Quinton Anderson Adams, 18, and the victim were both special needs students at Tara at the time of the incident.

Moments before state District Judge Chip Moore sentenced Adams, prosecutor Sue Bernie read a statement from the girl’s mother as the woman sat in the rear of the courtroom and sobbed.

In the statement, the woman said Adams — “in one moment of senseless violence” — changed her daughter’s and her family’s lives forever.

“She will forever relive her degrading violation, the feeling of helplessness, pain and embarrassment,” the woman wrote. “We hope that the court will place him in a facility where he can get much needed help and protect other young ladies from his violence against them.”

Adams, who will turn 19 on Thursday, was on probation for a 2010 rape conviction and wearing an electronic monitoring bracelet when he raped the woman’s daughter Feb. 16 behind the stage curtain in Tara’s theater. He was in the 10th grade at the time.

Bernie told the judge that Adams pulled the girl into the auditorium and across the stage without her consent, and engaged in sexual intercourse with her, again without her consent. A video camera captured Adams dragging the girl across the stage, the prosecutor said.

DNA evidence linked Adams to the sexual assault, she added.

Adams, who pleaded not guilty April 12 to a charge of forcible rape returned by an East Baton Rouge Parish grand jury, pleaded guilty Tuesday to the lesser charge of sexual battery and an additional charge of simple kidnapping.

Forcible rape carries a possible prison term of five to 40 years.

Sexual battery carries up to 10 years in prison, and simple kidnapping is punishable by up to five years in prison.

Under the terms of a plea agreement, Moore sentenced Adams to nine years in prison at hard labor on the sexual battery charge and five years in prison at hard labor on the simple kidnapping charge. He ordered the terms to run consecutively, then suspended the five-year term and said Adams will be on active supervised probation for five years following his release from prison.

“It’s a fair resolution. Justice was done,” Bernie said outside the courtroom. She said the victim’s family and Adams’ special needs were among the issues taken into consideration.

Adams’ court-appointed attorney, Jason Chatagnier, declined comment afterward. Inside the courtroom, Chatagnier told the judge that Adams — dressed in an orange East Baton Rouge Parish Prison jumpsuit — understood what occurred Tuesday.

Moore ordered Adams to undergo sexual offender treatment while on probation. Adams also must comply with all sexual offender registration requirements and have no contact with the victim or her family, the judge said.

The girl’s mother sued the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board in March, alleging the board and school administrators were negligent for not inquiring about Adams’ monitoring bracelet. The lawsuit is pending before state District Judge Janice Clark.

Citing the litigation, school officials will say little about the Adams case and have rejected an Advocate public-records request seeking a copy of an internal investigation of the rape. In official statements, the school system has maintained it knew almost nothing about Adams’ prior criminal record while he was at Tara.

Adams was booked on an aggravated rape count in June 2010 but pleaded in East Baton Rouge Parish Juvenile Court to a reduced charge of simple rape in November 2010, District Attorney Hillar Moore III has said. Adams was sentenced to juvenile life — imprisonment until age 21 — on May 3, 2011, but Juvenile Court Judge Kathleen Richey later suspended the sentence and put Adams on active supervised probation, Moore said.