Monday, July 11, 2005

Hosanna Coverup Part 2

An updated index of Hosanna Church articles can be found here.

Some further details, with my comments in parentheses. I had missed this article from June 30th when I wrote my first installment, so it's essentially more backstory. But in this case, in particular, backtory is very important because the details are being very efficiently erased.

Link to

Detective says evidence short

Cult sex inquiry focuses on 3 children

Florida parishes bureau

AMITE -- Three children are the victims at the center of a child-sex ring operating out of a Ponchatoula church for five years, a sheriff's detective testified in court Wednesday.

What is missing from the court case as it stands are the allegations of occult activity as the motive for the sexual abuse of children and animals, he said. No physical evidence of the occult, such as pentagrams drawn on the floor and spell books were ever found, Tangipahoa Parish sheriff's Detective Mike DePhillips told the court.

"You heard today that they couldn't find any evidence of the occult, so that is a dead issue," said Assistant Public Defender Reginald McIntyre, who represents defendants Paul Fontenot and Patricia Pierson.

(PP: If the word of Detective DePhillips and the Assistant Public Defender are true, then the alleged perpetrators have been collaborating on a elaborate, detailed hoax and feeding it to the sheriff's office. But why would they do this? Why would they confess to details that make an already horrific crime -- the serial rape of children -- into something much more sinister? Certainly not to gain sympathy. Adding a layer of occultism to their story can only further inflame public -- and prosecutorial -- opinion against them. It simply doesn't make sense. There is no reason to craft a hoax of such magnitude, especially when facing a potential death sentence.

The sheriff's office has passed details of evidence on to the media, and only recently -- possibly with the involvement of the FBI in the case -- has the evidence been dismissed. These details have been very specific, including a pentagram visible on the church floor and a reference to a search warrant which resulted in bags of costumes and boxes of pictures and videotapes. Not a search warrant for those items, but the contents found after the execution of a search warrant. Either the sheriff's office is full of bungling liars, and the press reports are wildly distorted for maximum shock value, or the evidence is being quickly, and efficiently, erased. If it's being erased, the question becomes: By whom? And for what purpose? Questions I will return to later.)

Prosecutor Don Wall confirmed after the hearing that the occult element won't be a part of the state's case.

Instead, the case is based mostly on statements made by the three children -- one girl and two boys -- who repeatedly were raped by, or forced to engage in various sex acts with, most of the defendants at least twice a week from 2000 to 2001 at Hosanna Church and a home of three of its members, DePhillips said. There is at least one other victim who wasn't mentioned in court.

"He cannot even remember a time when he was not molested," DePhillips said about the younger boy.

DePhillips was the only witness called during a preliminary examination hearing Wednesday held in 21st Judicial District Court for six of the nine alleged members of the church.

(PP: Interesting that Detective DePhillips is the only witness at the preliminary examination of six of the church members. Relevant? That remains to be seen.)

Defendants in the Tangipahoa Parish Courthouse for the hearing Wednesday were Robbin Lamonica, 45, Holden; Christopher Labat, 24, Hammond; Austin "Trey" Bernard III, 36, Hammond; Paul Fontenot, 21, Hammond; Patricia Pierson, 54, Hammond and Allen R. Pierson, 46, Hammond. All six were indicted by a grand jury last week on various counts of aggravated rape of a juvenile under age 12.

Three remaining defendants -- former Hosanna Pastor Louis David Lamonica, 45, Tickfaw; Lois Ann Mowbray, 54, Ponchatoula; and Nicole Bernard, 36, Columbus, Ohio, were not in court.

All of the church members except Nicole Bernard and Mowbray were indicted by a grand jury last week of aggravated rape of a juvenile under age 12, which carries a potential death sentence.

While being questioned for two hours Wednesday by six attorneys, DePhillips revealed essential elements of the Sheriff's Office's two-month investigation into the alleged sexual activity centering on the Hosanna Church on Southwest Railroad Avenue in Hammond and the Bernard residence on Amelia Lane in Hammond.

The three children repeatedly sexually assaulted were raped by various members at different times. The abuse of the girl started before her first birthday and ended at age 2 or 3. The younger of the two boys was raped by seven of those indicted from age 8 to 12. His elder brother allegedly was raped as a teenager by Louis David Lamonica and Austin Bernard, according to testimony.

The abuse took place from 1999 to 2003, but the court case focuses on abuse from 2000 to 2001.

(PP: Five years of abuse, and only one year is the focus?)

Much of the case is based on statements made by the three victims and confessions by Louis David Lamonica and Austin Bernard that implicated each of the suspects, the detective said.

Statements by Louis David Lamonica and Bernard implicating the others can't be used in a trial because a defendant does not have to testify against himself, Wall said. Instead, prosecutors will use victims' statements, DePhillips said after the hearing.

(Confessions are not legitimate? I'm not a lawyer, but I'd love to hear more about this from someone more familiar with the law. And still it doesn't make sense -- Lamonica and Bernard would not be testifying against themselves if they were discussinjg the crimes of others, so their statements about others should still be admissible. Are any lawyers reading this who could weigh in?)

But detectives found no physical evidence of the abuse, except for some bodily fluids on bedding being analyzed by the State Police Crime Laboratory. Although church members talked about taking photographs and videotapes of the alleged sex acts, none were found, DePhillips said.

(PP: Except those photos and tapes discussed in the search warrant's findings, that is. And, again (and not for the last time), why would the alleged perpetrators lie about this?)

The boys were examined at Children's Hospital in New Orleans, a hospital known for its medical exams of abused children. The detective could not recall on the stand if there is any medical evidence corroborating the abuse.

(PP:Excuse me? If there's one jaw-dropping moment in this entire saga, it must be this. The fucking detective in charge of the case can't recall if the hospital exam revealed evidence of abuse? Does this not seem utterly ridiculous?)

After the hearing, defense attorneys decried the lack of evidence as proof of their clients' innocence.

Wall said he would have liked to have physical evidence to prosecute, but the victims' information is strong enough without it.

However, detectives have written statements by some of the accused given to them by Mowbray, who also kept a 586-page journal. The content of Mowbray's journal and those statements were not revealed in court.

(PP: A 586-page journal. Of possibly five years of ritual abuse of children. And the contents of that journal were not revealed in court?!)

Mowbray also was described as a pastor of the church whom defense attorneys claim is at the center of the controversy.

"She would be what they considered a pastor," DePhillips said. "She had visions she shared with the people."

(PP: Visions of pedophilia? Killing cats? Dressing in costumes? Performing rituals inside of pentagrams in a church with whited-out windows?)

When asked by Labat's attorney, Gary Jordan, if he was aware of any infighting among Louis David Lamonica, Mowbray and Austin Bernard, the detective answered "Yes."

Although Mowbray is described as the leader, it was unclear what her relationship was in connection with the alleged abuse of the children.

"This entire matter is a hoax on the part of Ms. Mowbray," said Allen Pierson's attorney, Wayne Stewart, after the hearing.

(PP: One helluva hoax, no pun intended. A hoax that Mowbray talked all of the others into confessing to?)

Labat is accused of being a photographer of the group, taking pictures and videotaping the acts, DePhillips said. No pictures of the alleged sex acts were found, but other child pornography was located on Labat's home computer and his laptop computer, the detective said.

(PP: Someone really needs to look at the contents of what was found in that storage shed. Who wants to bet that list is going to also, conveniently, disappear?)

"Patricia Pierson helped clean up" the children and keep the infant girl calm during the acts, the detective said.

"The statement that was given to me is that she would clean them up and make them presentable," DePhillips said.

(PP: "Presentable" is an odd word choice. To whom were they "presented?" The word connotes preparation, which certainly ties into the idea of a ritual, rather than a free-for-all pedophile orgy.)

Austin Bernard, whose home with Nicole Bernard was a main site of the alleged sex acts, is said to have had overwhelming urges to have sex with the infant girl since her birth.

"He had uncontrollable urges when he changed her diaper," DePhillips said.

Bernard also admitted to raping both boys, the detective said.

"Bernard also claimed at first to have no memories of the sex acts," DePhillips said. "Throughout investigators' interviews with him, he told detectives that he had images form in his brain.

(PP: More suggestive words here. Many alleged victims of mind control/ritual abuse dissociate when forced to perform horrific acts as a coping mechanism. And the phrase "images form in his brain" further suggests dissociation and fragments of memory breaking through at a later time. Of course, Bernard could also be attempting to weasel his way out of the charges by painting himself as mentally ill.)

"As for the role of Nicole Bernard, she claims she knew nothing of the abuse until she was told about it by Mowbray and the girl," the detective said.

Nicole Bernard divorced Austin Bernard and fled to at least two other states before moving in with a relative of Mowbray's in Ohio. It was there that Nicole Bernard contacted authorities.

Nicole Bernard even made a videotape of the girl, the contents of which were not disclosed in court, on the advice of an attorney, DePhillips said.

(PP: Again, more evidence swept under the rug.)

DePhillips said he could not find evidence that Nicole Bernard contacted law enforcement authorities in Florida and New Jersey as she has claimed, nor could he find evidence that she received advice from an attorney.

However, Nicole Bernard's attorney is meeting with prosecutors attempting to reach a deal, prosecutor Don Wall said after the hearing.

Wall said his office has made no guarantees, but will meet with Nicole Bernard's attorneys later this week. In the meantime, evidence against Nicole Bernard was presented to a Tangipahoa Parish grand jury, but the panel was asked not to hand down indictments, Wall said. Nicole Bernard remains in jail, he said.

"We may not be able to do anything," Wall said about the meeting with Nicole Bernard's attorney.

The roles of other members of the Hosanna Church group were not clear in Wednesday's court testimony.

Members of Austin Bernard's family sat in the courtroom during all the testimony, sometimes uttering whispers of disbelief when details of the abuse were given.

During a break in testimony, Austin's stepmother, Leslie Bernard, talked to reporters.

"It's real tough. We can't comment on a lot of things," Leslie Bernard said.

(PP: Hmmm...)

She said family members tried to persuade Austin Bernard to leave the church because it made him a different person. She said Austin Bernard had disowned his father, even though the father underwent brain surgery.

(PP: "It made him a different person." Again, very suggestive of psychological manipulation of the "cultish" flavor.)

"To be honest, we begged him to get out of the church," Leslie Bernard said. "We begged him big time."

The six defendants at Wednesday's hearing, along with Hosanna Pastor Louis David Lamonica, will be arraigned July 7.

PP: My final comments. It seems highly improbable that the ritualistic/occult elements of this case are part of a hoax. It also seems very improbable that the multiple references to specific pieces of evidence -- tapes, photos, costumes, a pentagram, and the non-public evidence such as the victim's taped allegations and the 586-page journal -- are all either fabrications, mistakes, or irrelevant.

This case deserves serious, immediate scrutiny. But the crucial details are disappearing in front of our very eyes.

It doesn't matter if you believe in Satan, demons, or devils. It doesn't matter if you think occultists are pathetic egotists or servants of dark forces. All that matters is that a pastor and his congregation believed -- and they used that as an overlay in their terrible crimes. And it matters very much for the thousands of people who have seen their own allegations of similar abuse mocked, ridiculed, and ignored for "lack of evidence."

Because if one rural cult gets off on ritualistically raping children, you can bet they're not the only ones.

But before you dismiss this all as kooky conspiracy theorizing or "Satanic panic," I ask you to consider one crucial bit of the story that has been largely overlooked. Christopher Labat, the alleged photographer and videographer for the cult (and who the police admit had child pornography on his computer), is a Deputy in the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Department... one of the two sheriff's departments involved in the investigation...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am very interested in the information you have obtained and your observations of it.

Just so you know, nothing about this situation is a hoax. I have heard 1st hand myself from the mouth of little Ms. Bernard, the daughter, 5 yrs. old, of Austin (Trey) & Nicole Bernard.

I made many of the calls to the FBI in NJ and DC and directed Ms. Mowbray and Ms. Bernard with their contacts in Fla. only and approximate 4 hours after they fled Louisiana.

Ms. Mowbray and Nicole fled the area because of threats to their lives and that of abigail, and as well, because they KNEW the evidence they had obtained would be "lost", "unecessary" etc...

Little Ms. Bernard spoke of pentagrams, and the acts these numerous people and animals commited against her.

Back to the phone call records. These ladies were on their Nextel cell phones indefinately making phone calls, and evidence of calls to any police station, Pensacola Sheriff's Dept., NJ and Phila FBI, DC or to anywhere, would be noted. I can get records of my calls that were made, but I suppose that I should send them through the NJ FBI who I have already met with 2 times - discussing various issues.

Anyway...I'd would like to hear more from you.

11:21 PM  
Blogger Professor Pan said...

Thanks for your information. For what it's worth, I've tried your email address, and all mail is bouncing back to me. If you read this, please contact me directly (via I'd like to talk further.

8:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess you did hear it straight from the little girl's mouth, but do you know who told the little girl what to say before you heard her? hmmm..... Interesting thought huh? I know that Mrs. Mowbray and Bernard spoke to the girl about this stuff and scared her half to death. If I was five I would agree with them too. Who wouldn't. Why did it take Mrs. Bernard and Mowbray so long to leave the state? If it was my life at stake I would have called the authorities right there and then get in a car and leave. I will tell you why. It always takes you a while to leave when you are trying to make up evidence against everyone. They knew what they were doing straight up. They had no threats against them because they talked to no one but themselves. Lose the evidence they obtained? Why not call the local authoriteis to come get them? It shows how smart they really are. If the crime took place here, the local authorities are the ones who investigate. They thought that the louisiana authorites were all corrupt and therefore did not trust them. They had no reason to believe this yet they did. It is a shame what people will do when they have hate in their hearts and can't get their way.

11:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trey bernard is my stepbrother. And I once was member of this church. I thought that they were my family. But like many other people, we had a falling out and i was banned from the church. I moved to mississippi where I stayed. I just stumbled on all of this and it is unbelievable, but fiesable. At the time i left, you could tell the power struggle. I think no one is innocent in this case and everyone should get what they deserve. Also the time i left, pastor (what we all called him) had less and less to do with the church and Mrs. Mowbray and Robin had more and more control. It got to the point to where they stopped focusing on the congegration as a whole and just started dealing with the youth. I remember the room behind the church. Myself, Paul, and Chris painted and decorated the whole room. But at the time had no idea that it would turn into a pedophyl playground. I visited my brother, Trey, the week of september 12 2001, and when i arrived at is house i noticed that some of the kids that were part of the youth group when i left were now living with him. Since I had not been around them for several years I thought nothing of it. I would just hear wierd things from friends and family when I would go and visit back in Louisiana.

The room, I guess, in which all this happened, was painted all black with black lights in the ceiling, you know a place where a kid could go to and think was cool. A place to learn about god. But what they turned it into was..........

I think that the fleeing of Nicole and Lois is a self perserving sob story so that when all of this came into light they can say "we tried to get away". I know Lois, and I know how persuasive she can be. I just wonder how much about herself and her involvement is written in that journal.

2:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They aren't sweeping evidence under the rug, as you suggest. They have enough evidence right now to get a conviction (they believe). If they can't get the conviction, they can bring in more evidence in another trial. The way the law works is that you can't use only evidence from a previous trial and say you want a new trial--in other words, if they "save" some evidence, they can always request a new trial on the basis of "new" evidence should this trial not go as planned. That includes other witnesses (which is why they only called one this time around) and other hard-copy (which is why so much other evidence, including video tape, is not being used).

12:29 PM  

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