Wiley’s office reviewing sexual assault allegations

Ascension Parish Sheriff Jeff Wiley said Saturday that allegations Sorrento Police Chief Earl Theriot Jr. fed a drunk woman vodka and forced her to give him oral sex over a four-hour period while she was handcuffed in his office are “actively under review.”

Wiley, who said his office has been aware for some time of the claims against the four-term elected chief, stopped short of calling his office’s ongoing review a criminal investigation.

The allegations by an Ascension Parish woman became public in a civil right suits filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Baton Rouge. She alleges the sexual assault occurred on Nov. 1.

The suit states that the incident occurred when Theriot responded to a 911 call saying a woman was drunk and unresponsive at a Sorrento grocery store at La. 22 and Airline Highway.

Theriot initially had trouble finding the woman’s pulse, the lawsuit alleges, but later gave her alcohol in his patrol car after propositioning her for oral sex.

Her attorney, Tregg Wilson, said his client is an alcoholic and is undergoing treatment.

Wiley said Saturday he expects his investigators to reach a resolution in the coming days about how his office will proceed. He declined further comment Saturday.

Wiley’s deputies are providing police protection for the town of Sorrento on the weekends and weekday evenings because the police department lacks professional liability insurance.

State law does not require insurance for officers to patrol. But town officials say patrolling without it puts the town and officers at financial risk.

Theriot and his assistant chief began weekday patrols in Sorrento without professional liability insurance since Monday, after Wiley refused to have his deputies patrol during weekdays while Theriot remains in office.

Other town officials, in response, called for Theriot’s resignation.

Theriot rebuffed those calls, telling them to “stick it.”

The uninsured patrols have also prompted the town’s insurer to cancel the auto liability insurance on Sorrento police cars. State law generally requires drivers to have liability insurance.

But town officials say Theriot is pointing to an exemption in state law that covers municipalities.