Thu, Nov 29, 2012
For more than two hours, the accuser sat in the witness stand and explained how she was allegedly violated by a Delcambre police officer four years ago.
The trial began Wednesday in the 15th Judicial District Court. Ernest Billiot, who is no longer a Delcambre police officer, is being accused of committing a sexual act against the accuser, along with a second degree kidnapping charge. The crimes allegedly occurred in 2008. He is facing at least 10 years in prison if found guilty.
The Louisiana Attorney General’s Office is prosecuting the case, while Marcus Allen of Lafayette is Billiot’s attorney.
The accuser was the first witness on the stand. She gave her explanation of what occurred that night of Feb. 17, 2008.
The accuser told the jurors she was coming back from New Iberia and heading home to Erath, around 11:30 p.m.
She was traveling through Delcambre on La. 14 and passed in front of what was then “Delcambre Chevron.” She was heading west and met up with a Delcambre police officer heading east on La. 14.
The accuser said she noticed the patrolman put on his police lights and do a u-turn on La. 14. The accuser said she pulled over on La. 14 and stopped her vehicle.
She told jurors Billiot, the patrolman in the car, asked her to get out of her car. Billiot asked if she had been drinking and she responded, “No.” She did have a glass of wine hours earlier, she testified.
According to the accuser, Billiot thought she had been drinking because he told her that her car had almost hit his patrol car head-on near Delcambre Chevron.
She said he frisked her outside her car and then told her to get in the backseat of his car because she had to go to the Delcambre police station to take a test to see if she was legally intoxicated or not. She did what Billiot allegedly said and got in the police car.
At the time, the Delcambre police station was a mobile home because the main station had been flooded by a hurricane.
When she arrived, she had to go to the bathroom. The two were also alone in the trailer.
When she was finished in the bathroom, Billiot was waiting for her by the door. The accuser said Billiot accused her of hiding drugs, and he needed to do a body search. He also let her know she was pretty and asked if she had a boyfriend.
The accuser said he made her take off her bra and then take off her pants and panties. She said she had to lean forward against the wall while he did a body search as she stood naked.
His hands went in between her legs and touched her inappropriately, she testified.
“I got angry,” the accuser said. “I felt violated. I was crying the whole time.”
Billiot then made her get dressed and took her back to her car on La. 14, never giving her a test for alcohol, she testified. She said he asked her for a date and wanted her phone number. She testified she gave him a phone number but it was a wrong number. He wrote it down on his hand, she said.
She said when she got into her car, she called a friend at 2:30 in the morning and explained to him what had happened to her. That friend recommended she call 911, which she did.
Emma Devillier of the attorney general’s office played a CD recording of the 911 call Lopez made. On the CD, the accuser called 911 and said she wanted to file a complaint against a Delcambre police officer. She explained to the 911 operator what allegedly took place at the Delcambre police department. The operator wanted to know if she wanted an officer from the Vermilion Parish Sheriff Office to go to her house and she told the operator “No.”
The 911 operator connected her with Delcambre Police Chief James Broussard, who was home sleeping. The accuser explained to Chief Broussard that one of his officers made her get naked. She told the chief his officer allegedly “kissed her on her lips.”
On the CD, she told the chief she felt violated and constantly wanted to know why did his officer touch her and then ask for her phone number?
After the chief heard everything, he said, “Oh, Lord.”
The chief, according to the 911 call, said an investigation would be launched into what occurred.
A couple of days later, the accuser called the Louisiana State Police and told them what occurred to her in Delcambre. She wanted an out-of-parish law enforcement agency investigate the alleged crime.
“I do not want this to happen to anyone else,” said the accuser. “You need to know your rights so this does not happen to you.”
Allen cross-examined Lopez for another hour. He questioned her on why she did not tell 911 and the Chief that the Delcambre police officer allegedly kissed her. He also pointed out that Billiot’s name and rank was on his police jacket that he wore. The accuser told 911 she did not know the name of the officer who stopped her. The accuser did remember his body size and that he had a certain patch on his police jacket, but she said she never saw his name.
The accuser was on the witness stand for just over three hours. She was dismissed at 6 p.m. and the first day of the trial ended.
The trial will begin again Thursday at 9 a.m.