District Attorney Warren Montgomery reports that on Thursday, January 26, 2023, a St. Tammany Parish jury unanimously found Antoine Asara Hartley, age 47 and of Slidell, Louisiana, guilty of indecent behavior of a child under the age thirteen. District Judge Reginald Badeaux presided over the case.
In August of 2019, the St. Tammany Sheriff’s Office received a complaint in reference to inappropriate comments made to a juvenile by an older man. The mother of the victim reported to officers that her daughter told her that she had been inappropriately touched by the defendant.
The victim reported to officers that she and her sisters would often visit her neighbors to babysit their young children, and the defendant did as well. The sisters said the defendant made them uncomfortable, making comments like “if you were older we would be dating.” He also touched the victim’s breasts and thigh.
In a recorded video played at trial, the defendant repeatedly blamed the sisters. He admitted to telling the sisters that he could be their boyfriend, but insisted it was only a scare tactic to keep them away, since he claimed that the eleven-year-old was wearing a bikini one size too small and her sister would not keep her legs closed while wearing a skirt.
The defendant has a prior history, having been convicted on two charges of molestation of a juvenile, aggravated battery, and failure to register as a sex offender. Additionally, the defendant had been released only months prior to committing the instant offense, following the completion of his sentence for a conviction of forcible rape.
Defense counsel told the jury that his crimes were “30 years ago,” and “he’s learned his lesson.”
The defendant faces life in prison without the benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence. He will be sentenced on February 16, 2023.
Assistant District Attorneys Elizabeth Authement and Brandi Dohre prosecuted the case. The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office investigated the case.
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