May 22, 2005

Police Name New Suspect In Cult-Like Church Ring


POSTED: 1:27 pm CDT May 22, 2005
UPDATED: 1:39 pm CDT May 22, 2005

PONCHATOULA, La. -- Authorities have gathered new evidence from the home of a former pastor accused of leading a church group in "cult-like" rituals involving the sexual abuse of children and animals.

Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's spokeswoman Laura Covington said authorities seized cars belonging to three of the eight arrested suspects in the case and also searched the home of former Hosanna Church pastor Louis Lamonica on Friday night.

Also Sunday, authorities issued an arrest warrant for Trish Pierson, bringing the number of suspects to nine.

Covington said Pierson is the wife of Allen R. Pierson, a 46-year-old man who lived in an apartment on the church complex and has been accused of raping a girl who was nine or 10. Covington would not say what charges Trish Pierson was wanted on. Covington said detectives believed Trish Pierson was somewhere in the southwestern region of the country on Saturday.

Authorities have said more arrests are possible, and the details of the case have become increasingly graphic.

Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff Daniel Edwards said members of a Ponchatoula church carried out the practices for years as part of a devil-worshipping ritual involving cat blood.

Posted by kshaw at May 22, 2005 03:10 PM