NEW ORLEANS – Yesterday, the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office (OPDA) Special Victims Unit (SVU) secured a conviction of defendant Charles Banks for child sexual abuse committed in Gentilly New Orleans. OPDA SUV Chief Alicia Bennette and Assistant District Attorney (ADA) Michelle Jones led this prosecution, with the capable support of Special Victims Unit Project Manager Sydney Houlemard, Victim/Witness Child Advocate Ciara Bradford and Sex Crimes Investigator Ronnie Puigh. Through this team’s hard work, Banks was found guilty of Attempted First Degree Rape, Attempted Sexual Battery Victim Under Age of 13, and two counts of Indecent Behavior with a Juvenile Victim Under Age of 13.
District Attorney Jason Williams said, “I am pleased to share that our office has achieved a major win in our fight against sexual violence. Our Special Victims Unit successfully prosecuted a criminal offender for attempting to commit first-degree rape in our city. Our dedicated team of prosecutors, investigators, and support staff worked tirelessly to ensure a thorough and comprehensive investigation. This shared commitment to justice exhibited is commendable, and it reinforces our collective determination to hold perpetrators accountable. This verdict sends a resolute message that our community will not tolerate such abhorrent acts of violence. We stand united in our efforts to protect our fellow citizens, particularly the most vulnerable among us – our youth.”
According to New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) reports, on Tuesday, May 7, 2019, the defendant was arrested for sexually assaulting a ten-year-old child in the 4700 Block of Haydel Street.
“Today, justice was finally served despite being delayed for 4 long years,” said OPDA SUV Chief Alicia Bennette. “The dedication of these families coupled with the hard work and passion in which our unit pursues justice resulted in a “just” conviction. Thank you Michelle Jones, Ciara Bradford, Ronnie Puigh, and Sydney Houlemard for making sure justice was not denied.”
DA Williams established the OPDA Special Victims Unit, comprised of specially trained and experienced lawyers and support staff, to fight for children and survivors of sexual abuse. The SVU provides compassion, continuity, and vigorous prosecution from the very onset of the criminal justice process.
The trial took place in Section G of Criminal District Court; The Honorable Judge Nandi F. Campbell presided. The defendant was sentenced to a total of 25 years in prison.
Thank you for the hard work of the following OPDA Trial Team Members:
- OPDA Special Victims Unit Chief Alicia Bennette
- ADA Michelle Jones
- Victim/Witness Child Advocate Ciara Bradford
- Sex Crimes Investigator Ronnie Puigh
- Special Victims Unit Project Manager Sydney Houlemard
To learn more about the work of OPDA, please visit orleansda.com.