Conviction upheld for Anacoco man accused of molestation

Published 1:59 pm Wednesday, March 2, 2022

The Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeal has affirmed the conviction of an Anacoco man for the molestation of a juvenile girl.

L.C. Chaney, 83, filed an appeal arguing the evidence submitted during his trial in May 2021 was not sufficient enough to support his conviction, saying the conviction was based solely on the victim’s testimony against his own.

The appellate court ruled this to be untrue, and cited a confession statement from Chaney to Vernon Parish detectives submitted during the trial that corroborated the victim’s allegation.

In its opinion rendered on Feb. 23 and written by Judge D. Kent Savoie, the Third Circuit Court said the defendant’s argument “is an attack on the weight and credibility of the evidence, but such matters are within the province of the jury” and that it is not the appellate court’s role to second-guess the fact-finder’s assessment of such.

In his appeal, Chaney also argued the trial court impaired his right to present a defense by not allowing him to introduce a pillow he claimed had a message from the victim written on it.

Chaney alleged the pillow was given to him at a hospital while he recovered from heart surgery, and the message on the pillow contradicted the victim’s testimony during trial. However, the court ruled the pillow was inadmissible during trial because Chaney did not offer up the pillow as evidence in a timely manner during proceedings. Chaney also never disclosed the alleged “message” on the pillow.

“For the forgoing reasons, we find this assignment of error lacks merit” the appellate court’s opinion reads.

Chaney’s sentence of 25 years at hard labor by Vernon Parish Judge Scott Westerchil was also upheld.

Chaney was arrested by Vernon Parish authorities in June 2019 after receiving information that sexual contact between Chaney and the victim had occurred when the victim was 10 years old.

Sheriff Sam Craft reported at the time that detectives made contact with Cheney and during an interview with detectives, Chaney admitted to the sexual contact.

Chaney was convicted on May 13, 2021, following a two-day trial.