Judge hands former Holden fire chief 63-year sentence

A judge on Thursday sentenced a former Holden fire chief to 63 years in prison, about two weeks after the chief was convicted of indecent behavior with a juvenile.

Franklin Dale Church, who formerly served as fire chief of Fire Protection District 10, which covers the Holden area, was convicted on June 14 of nine counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile.

Judge Bruce Bennett, of the 21st Judicial District Court in Livingston, sentenced Church to seven years on each of the nine counts to be served consecutively for a total of 63 years.

“We’re very pleased with the sentence,” District Attorney Scott Perrilloux said. “The judge gave him the maximum. We feel that was appropriate, considering all the victims and how long this had been going on.”

Church’s defense attorney, Jasper Brock, had little to say when contacted Thursday after the sentencing.

“It’s what I told him he’d get when he turned down the plea offer,” Brock said.

Church, 46, 22614 Charles Holden Road, was arrested July 30 on allegations of indecent behavior with a 14-year-old girl, the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office has said. He was booked on counts of indecency with a juvenile, felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile and contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile.

The counts stem from acts that occurred between March and June 2012, the Sheriff’s Office has said.

Church was accused of tying the girl up and having sex with her, prosecutor Charlotte Herbert has said.

The defendant’s son, Adam Church, already has pleaded guilty to carnal knowledge of a juvenile for acts with the same girl, Herbert has said.

In November 2010, Franklin Church was arrested on 101 counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile and one count of pornography involving a juvenile. Those counts were dismissed by a state district judge who ruled that the statute of limitations had run out on those allegations.

Those cases involved incidents that allegedly occurred more than 30 years ago, Perrilloux has said.

After the counts were dismissed, Church posted $150,000 bail on a remaining count of computer-aided solicitation of a juvenile and was released from custody.

The counts involving the 14-year-old girl allegedly occurred while Church was out of jail on bond, authorities have said.

Brock had argued that details in the case, such as testimony from the victim and Church’s son, were too inconsistent for Church to be convicted.