Former Holden fire chief convicted of indecent behavior with juvenile

Franklin Dale Church
Franklin Dale Church

A former Holden fire chief was found guilty Friday of indecent behavior with a 14-year-old girl in 2012, the District Attorney’s Office said.

Franklin Dale Church, who formerly served as fire chief of Fire Protection District 10, which covers the Holden area, was convicted in 21st Judicial District Court on nine counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile.

He will be sentenced June 27.

Church was accused of tying the girl up and having sex with her, prosecutor Charlotte Herbert said during closing arguments Friday.

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

Church, 46, 22614 Charles Holden Road, was arrested July 30 on allegations of indecent behavior with a 14-year-old girl, the Livingston 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 in 2012, the Sheriff’s Office has said.

In November 2010, 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, District Attorney Scott 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.

“We’re very pleased with the outcome,” Perrilloux said Friday. “He has victimized numerous individuals over the years, and we’re glad justice could be served now.”

Donna Sanchez, a Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office detective, testified Friday that investigators found ropes, dog collars, body jewelry and condoms when they searched Church’s home.

Jeremy Dubois, a DNA analyst for the State Police Crime Laboratory, said DNA evidence from the girl and Church was found on the rope.

Analysts also found blood on the rope with DNA that matched Church and the girl, Dubois said.

“A lot of this case is vulgar and obscene,” Herbert said in her closing argument. “Apparently, he likes to prey on little girls.”

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

Perrilloux said prosecutors brought 17 witnesses Friday, including the victim and relatives of Church.