A judge denied a 47-year-old convicted sex offender’s request to be removed from the sex offender registry during a hearing on Thursday.
Tyrone Paul Bella, of Houma, appeared in District Court Judge Larke Jr.’s courtroom Thursday afternoon along with his Houma attorney, Teresa King.
Bella was arrested on June 19, 2006, after being accused of having sex with two teenage girls who were family members, authorities said.
Although Bella was indicted on charges of aggravated rape, aggravated incest, forcible rape, aggravated oral-sexual battery, oral-sexual battery and molestation of a juvenile, he pleaded guilty to two counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile on May 15, 2008.
After Bella entered his pleas, Larke gave him a five-year suspended sentence, probation and ordered him to register as a sex offender for 15 years.
King asked Larke Thursday to remove her client from the sex offender registry five years early because it was having a negative impact on his life.
The state had promised to remove Bella from the registry if he complied with the law as part of the plea agreement, King said. Since his plea, Bella has maintained a clean record and has committed no crimes, King said.
“He was told he was going to have this benefit,” King said. “If not, the state would be going back on its word.”
Assistant state Attorney General Erica Schultz contended prosecutors couldn’t make such a promise and the decision would be up to the judge. Because Bella pleaded guilty to two different counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile, he is not eligible for a reduced sentence, Schultz said.
After hearing arguments from both sides, Larke rejected the defendant’s request over King's objections.
--Staff Writer Dan Copp can be reached at 857-2202 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter@DanVCopp.