- Associated Press - Monday, February 10, 2014

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Former Sorrento Police Chief Earl Theriot Jr. pleaded guilty Monday in a case accusing him of lying to an FBI agent about an alleged sexual assault of a heavily intoxicated woman last year.

U.S. Attorney Walt Green said Theriot entered the plea before U.S. District Chief Judge Brian A. Jackson to making false statements in connection with a criminal civil rights investigation.

Theriot, 65, of Sorrento, faces up to five years in prison, three years of supervised released following the jail time and a $250,000 fine. A sentencing date has not been set. His attorney, Roger W. Jordan Jr., was not immediately available for comment.

Theriot, who started his fourth four-year term as police chief July 1, resigned the post Friday under a plea deal with federal prosecutors.

The town of Sorrento has been in turmoil over how to handle its law enforcement services since the police department and its vehicles lost insurance coverage in November.

Theriot and assistant police chief Ricky Smith have been patrolling during daytime hours on weekdays while the town pays the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office to patrol at night and on weekends. Sheriff Jeff Wiley said Friday his office would continue to honor its patrol agreement with the town but also will respond to calls during the daytime.

Brandee Patrick, a spokeswoman for the Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office, said the town must appoint an interim chief within 20 days of Theriot’s retirement and call a special election to fill the remainder of Theriot’s term. An election would be set for the fall, she said.

If the town does not appoint an interim chief, Gov. Bobby Jindal will appoint one, Patrick said.

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