March 05, 2006

Hosanna may reach trial in ’06

The Advocate

Florida parishes bureau
Published: Mar 5, 2006

AMITE — Prosecutors literally have a truckload of potential evidence to sift through, an unusual set of circumstances to explain to a jury, and far fewer witnesses than they once expected in the case against the members of the defunct Hosanna Church in Ponchatoula.

The investigation began when a women who fled to Ohio in March 2005 asked authorities to look into allegations of child abuse committed by the leaders of the church. Then, the church pastor walked into the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office in April 2005 and allegedly confessed to abusing children and animals in a Satanic ritual.

Now that the cases against the pastor and eight other members of the Hosanna Church are in the hands of the 21st Judicial District Attorney’s Office, the investigation has become less about the occult and more about criminal charges of child abuse.

Material confiscated by investigators in the cases includes such varied items as computers and a crossbow, but prosecutors are still trying to determine which of the countless items will be used as evidence and which ones point to the defendants’ innocence and must be turned over to defense attorneys.

Posted by kshaw at March 5, 2006 07:39 AM