May 25, 2005

Alleged cult member arrested, another to be returned

The Advocate

By The Associated Press

AMITE -- Police have arrested the last person named so far in warrants accusing them of being part of a cult which had sex with children and animals, but a dozen or more additional people could be involved, authorities say.

FBI agents and East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff's deputies arrested Patricia "Trish" Pierson, 54, when she arrived at the Baton Rouge Municipal Airport on a flight from Tulsa, Okla., said Laura Covington, a spokeswoman for the Tangipahoa Parish sheriff.

Pierson was arrested as a fugitive and then transferred to Tangipahoa Parish, where she was booked on charges of sexual battery and principal to aggravated rape, Covington said.

Another woman, Nicole Bernard, wanted on a charge of aggravated rape, waived extradition Tuesday in Ohio's Franklin County Common Pleas Court and will likely return to Louisiana within 10 days, authorities said.

Her ex-husband, Austin Aaron Bernard, 36, was arrested May 17 on a charge accusing him of making a girl under the age of 13 perform a sex act.

Seven of the eight people arrested, including Pierson's husband, Allen R. Pierson, remain in jail without bail because they are accused of capital offenses, Covington said.

Posted by kshaw at May 25, 2005 07:39 AM