A 34-year-old Thibodaux man accused of raping a girl relative has been placed on probation after pleading guilty to a lesser charge.
Scott Hebert, of St. Charles Bypass Road, was scheduled to stand trial this week for rape and cruelty to a juvenile but opted to plead guilty Friday to indecent behavior with juveniles and domestic abuse battery.
Following Hebert’s pleas, state District Judge Jerome Barbera III of Thibodaux ordered him to serve three years of supervised probation, register as a sex offender and stay away from the victim.
By avoiding a trial, the victim no longer has to relive her ordeal, prosecutors said.
“Going to trial for crimes of a sexual nature can be extremely traumatizing for the victim and family,” said Assistant District Attorney Jason Chatagnier, who prosecuted the case. “In the pursuit of justice, we have to determine what that means for them. For the pre-teen victim and family, who were involved throughout this process, having the defendant stay away from the victim and register as a sex offender was an agreeable resolution.”
Hebert’s defense attorney, Matt Ory of Thibodaux, said his client had difficult decision to make.
“He could either go home today and register as a sex offender or proceed with trial and potentially face the rest of his life in prison if found guilty,” Ory said. “He felt it was in his best interest to proceed with caution. We felt we had a chance to be successful, but sometimes you have to know when to call it. Jason was set to prosecute this case, and we knew we would have had a fight on our hands. We both compromised a little and came to a resolution.”
Had Hebert been convicted of first-degree rape, he would have faced a mandatory life sentence without probation, parole or early release.
Hebert’s arrest stemmed from an August 2018 investigation conducted by the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office. Juvenile detectives were alerted about allegations that Hebert had sexually abused an underage girl who was related to him, the Sheriff’s Office said. Following an investigation, authorities obtained warrants for Hebert’s arrest.
-- Staff Writer Dan Copp can be reached at 448-7639 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @DanVCopp.