Child molestation allegations called false, damaging
The owners of The Pig Stand in Ville Platte have filed a lawsuit against two state agencies and a set of foster parents, accusing them of slander, negligence and damaging their reputations over a 2011 arrest.
Barry and Marla Giglio, who own the The Pig Stand, filed the lawsuit in St. Landry Parish against the state Department of Children and Family Services, State Police and the foster parents of three children.
The Giglios were among eight people arrested in May 2011 and accused of molesting the three girls in Church Point.
A grand jury later declined to indict the Giglios on charges of aggravated rape.
The lawsuit accuses the children’s foster parents of having “coached the minor children to fabricate an elaborate tale that they had been forced to engage in sex with plaintiffs and members of the children’s immediate family” in an effort to secure the adoption of all three children and to eliminate any viable alternative placement.
The lawsuit seeks damages for acts of negligence, gross negligence, defamation, libel and slander.
The suit also accuses the State Police of not coordinating its investigation with its partner agency, the state Department of Children and Family Services — “otherwise it would have learned that the children were in the custody of the State of Louisiana when they were alleged to have engaged in sexual intercourse with plaintiffs.”
The suit also alleges that the warrants for the Giglios’ arrest given to state District Judge Donald Hebert for his approval failed to disclose that the children had made prior statements accusing other people of the same crime without implicating the Giglios.
According to the suit, the judge also was not told that the children had been examined by a physician who said he found no physical evidence of molestation, or that the children were in the care of the foster parents when the alleged event took place.
Trey Williams, a spokesman for the Department of Children and Family Services, said his department could not comment on pending litigation.
Trooper Stephen Hammons, a spokesman for the State Police, said the agency had not been served with the lawsuit.
The Giglios’ attorney, Chris Villemarette, said the plaintiffs have evidence to back up the lawsuit’s allegations.
Villemarette said the children involved also implicated five other people after the first eight people, including the Giglios, had been arrested.
Those five adults were never arrested in the case, he said.
“To me, the Department of Children and Family Services and State Police should have drew a red flag when so many people were being accused, and that all of the children were implicating family members and friends,” Barry Giglio said Wednesday morning.
Giglio said he believes a seed was planted in the children’s minds and it created a false memory of events that never occurred.
While the lawsuit is seeking damages, the couple’s attorney said the lawsuit cannot restore the Giglios’ reputations, the damage done to their business or help squelch the incessant rumor mill within the small Evangeline Parish town.
The Giglios’ once thriving business has plummeted “all because of this,” Villemarette said.
Since his arrest, Barry Giglio said, he has been asked to resign from some of the civic activities in which he had been involved.
“It’s been a pretty rough year for us,” Barry Giglio said, adding later, “You don’t know what it’s like to be accused of doing something to a child.”
The suit also accuses Pam McGee, a Ville Platte city employee, of communicating false allegations about the Giglios to third parties and encouraging the general public to boycott the Giglios’ business.
The suit claims that McGee communicated false allegations with the intent of subjecting the Giglios to public hatred, contempt and ridicule with malice.
McGee declined to comment on the case Wednesday, saying she had not contacted an attorney.