Charges stem from online video access
Five people, including four Destrehan High School assistant football coaches, were booked with unauthorized use of intellectual property Wednesday after they allegedly used a leaked computer password to get a sneak peek at the game plan of their upcoming opponent, South Lafourche.
Others could still be charged, said Brennan Matherne, public information officer for the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office.
“It’s possible that there could be some more developments in the next 24 hours, but we don’t expect anything else today,” Matherne said Thursday. “We are still investigating and continuing interviews.”
Destrehan assistant coaches Ryan Fournier, Daniel Luquet, Greg Boyne and Wayne Sentilles were all booked with the misdemeanor. Emily Guidry, who Matherne said is Fournier’s girlfriend, also was booked.
Each was issued a criminal summons. The charge carries maximum penalties of a $500 fine and six months in jail.
The criminal charges are the latest fallout stemming from an incident in which the coaches allegedly used computers to spy on South Lafourche’s football practices last week.
The scandal already has resulted in a forfeit for Destrehan and sanctions for the coaches involved.
The coaches used Hudl, a video application that allows teams to study themselves and scout opponents using film from their previous games. Coaches use Hudl to exchange game films with other coaches.
Coaches also can record practices and post them, protected by a password known only to coaches and players of that school.
The Destrehan coaches obtained the password from a student who is no longer on the team at South Lafourche.
“We aren’t seeking any charges against the student,” Matherne said.
LHSAA Executive Director Kenny Henderson said he had never dealt with an issue like this. “This is new territory for us,” Henderson said Tuesday.
Destrehan, which was undefeated and ranked No. 5 in the Louisiana Sports Writers Association polls, won the game 49-24.
The Louisiana High School Athletic Association, which was notified about the allegations Monday, ruled the game a forfeit Wednesday and awarded the victory to South Lafourche.
It wasn’t the only penalty the LHSAA handed out Wednesday.
The four coaches who were arrested, along with another coach, Lance Ledet, are not allowed to attend Destrehan’s two remaining regular-season games.
“We are well aware that a fifth coach (Ledet) had actions taken against him by the LHSAA,” Matherne said. “All we can say is that if anybody else needs to be charged, we will definitely do that.”
The LHSAA ruled all of the coaches except Fournier can return for the playoffs but will have to coach from the press box. Fournier and Guidry aren’t allowed to attend any more games this season.
The LHSAA statement referred to Guidry as Fournier’s wife, but Matherne confirmed Thursday that she is actually Fournier’s girlfriend.
“The charges are very rare, and you don’t see it too often,” Matherne said. “Essentially, the crime came when they used the log-in to actually log into the site. It’s a crime to access something you don’t have authorization to access. If they had just obtained the password and not actually used it, it wouldn’t have been a crime.”
The LHSAA penalties do not prohibit the coaches from participating in practice, but the St. Charles Parish School Board has suspended the coaches from all coaching duties until further notice, said Stevie Crovetto, director of public information for the parish school system.
“All but one of them are still fulfilling their teaching duties,” Crovetto said. “We are still in the ongoing investigation process on our end.”
Crovetto wouldn’t identify which coach was not fulfilling his teaching duties. Guidry was not affiliated with the school.
Destrehan, which is now 7-1 overall and 4-1 in District 7-5A after the forfeit, plays H.L. Bourgeois on Friday.
South Lafourche, which is awarded a 2-0 victory for the forfeit, is 5-3 overall and 4-1 in district play. South Lafourche played Thibodaux on Thursday.
Matherne said that as far as his office knows, this was a one-time incident.
“Nothing that we have found in our investigation leads us to believe this has been an ongoing thing all season,” he said.
“Fournier and Guidry had ties to the South Lafourche area. So there is nothing that has led us to believe that this has occurred for more than this one game.”
The incident was the second dust-up at an LHSAA high school football game in the greater New Orleans area to lead to arrests this season.
In mid-October, two referees were arrested by Covington police during a dispute over crowd control at a game between Mandeville and St. Paul’s.
They were booked with public intimidation of an officer, but the case was dropped the next week.