LAFAYETTE — A Lafayette Parish grand jury declined to accept charges against a Lafayette High School dance instructor accused of inappropriately touching students in class.
Prosecutor J.N. Prather said the grand jury returned no true bills Wednesday afternoon on Katie Champagne, who was arrested by the Lafayette Police Department in December on six counts of indecent behavior with juveniles.
“The grand jury heard every piece of evidence that was available,” Prather said. “They did what they were supposed to do.”
Champagne’s arrest stemmed from a complaint filed Nov. 15 by a 14-year-old girl who told police Champagne grabbed her breast and slapped her buttocks during class, according to an affidavit filed in Champagne’s arrest.
Detectives identified six children under the age of 17 whom Champagne allegedly touched in an inappropriate manner, the affidavit said.
Champagne’s defense attorney, William Goode, said the grand jury made the right decision.
“The no true bill was the proper result in this case because Ms. Champagne did not commit any crime,” Goode said.
“It is unfortunate that Ms. Champagne had to suffer the indignity and huge expense associated with being arrested and having to post a $30,000 bond.
“This is especially true because of the complete lack of any prior similar accusations against Ms. Champagne,” Goode said, adding Champagne had a stellar teaching record and no prior criminal record.
While there was apparently sufficient probable cause for a judge to issue an arrest warrant, Goode said, “The police certainly could have waited until the district attorney had reviewed the case and presented it to the grand jury before initiating Ms. Champagne’s arrest and then adding insult to injury by issuing a press release about it.”
Champagne, 30, was placed on paid administrative leave from the school following her arrest.
Champagne may return to work as soon as the school system receives proper court documentation, said Jane Kearly, school system director of human resources.
Champagne intends to do so, Goode said.
“Shes been dancing ever since she was a little girl. Dancing is her life,” Goode said.
Staff writer Marsha Sills contributed to this story.