Ex-fire chief set for trial in latest case
LIVINGSTON — A former Holden fire chief arrested and booked this week with felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile was out of jail on bond in another case involving a juvenile when the latest alleged incidents occurred, authorities said Wednesday.
Records show Franklin Dale Church, 46, had been arrested twice on other counts alleging improper behavior with juveniles, but was not convicted.
Church was arrested and booked in 2003 with indecent behavior with a juvenile in an incident that allegedly occurred more than 20 years earlier, but a grand jury did not indict him after a witness failed to show up to testify, District Attorney Scott Perrilloux said.
In November 2010, authorities arrested Church twice. One of those arrests involved the case in which he is scheduled to go on trial.
The other arrest involved earlier incidents alleged by a woman after she read about the previous arrest, authorities said.
In December, a judge dismissed 101 older cases of indecent behavior with a juvenile.
In response to a defense motion, a 21st Judicial District Court judge ruled that the statute of limitations had run out on those allegations. The cases involved events alleged by a woman to have occurred more than 30 years ago, Perrilloux said.
After dismissal of those counts, District Judge Bruce Bennett reduced the bond on Church to $150,000 on the remaining count of computer-aided solicitation of a juvenile.
Church bonded out of jail on Jan. 20. Previously, bail on the more than 100 cases had been set at $2.6 million, officials said.
Church is scheduled to go to trial on the computer solicitation charge later this month, Perrilloux said.
The juvenile in that case is the same teenager who is the alleged victim in the cases for which Church was arrested this week, Perrilloux said.
In November 2010, officers with the Livingston Police Department reported arresting Church in a park. Investigators reported at the time he allegedly was sending messages to a 13-year-old girl from his cell phone and laptop computer, trying to coax her to meet him at a baseball field.
Officers, who acknowledged they had been investigating a complaint from the girl’s mother, said they met the man in the park and arrested him.
If convicted of solicitation of a minor at the trial scheduled for Aug. 20, Church would face a fine of up to $10,000 and a prison sentence of not less than five years and not more than 10 years without the benefit of parole or probation, authorities said.
Deputies arrested and booked Church, 46, on Monday with felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile, contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile and four counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile, according to the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Church remained in the Livingston Parish Detention Center Wednesday afternoon, the Sheriff’s Office said.
In 2003, deputies booked Church with simple battery. He subsequently was convicted and given a six-month suspended sentence, Perrilloux said.
Prior to that, he served as fire chief of Fire Protection District 10, which covers the Holden area.