Bond hearing in Terrebonne court exposes potential new victim in case

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A Terrebonne Parish jail inmate facing charges that include rape, extortion and theft must wait till next year for his bond reduction bid to be heard, because a woman who appeared in court the same day – represented by his court-appointed attorney – disclosed to authorities that he had victimized her as well.

That created a conflict for the attorney, who had to remove the bond reduction hearing from the calendar. It was rescheduled for January.

The bizarre turnaround occurred when Lance Geary Laurent, booked Oct. 24 on two counts of forcible rape, theft, domestic abuse aggravated assault and domestic abuse battery, appeared Thursday before District Judge David Arceneaux, seeking to have his $147,000 bond reduced.

Laurent is accused by a Houma grandmother of keeping her prisoner in her own home after meeting her through an Internet dating site, threatening to kill her children and grandchild if she did not follow his instructions, and forcing her to marry him in Biloxi. Financial records turned over to investigators show hundreds of thousands of dollars in purchases made on the woman’s credit, also considered part of the case.

Prosecutors say they are still building their case against the 42-year-old Laurent, which may include similar victimizations of other women.

His relatives say that while they know him to be a problematic individual, they have not known him to act violently or speak of violence.

When Laurent was questioned in court by Arceneaux his accuser, accompanied by District Attorney’s Office victim services staff members, expressed offense to a statement he made.

Another woman sitting next to that victim asked if she had also met Laurent on the Internet. The startled victim asked her new acquaintance if she knew Laurent, and the woman said yes. The victim then asked the woman if he had hurt her, and she replied in the affirmative. The victim informed Assistant District Attorney Jason Lyons, and the second woman agreed to speak with investigators about her alleged experience with Laurent.

Meanwhile the bond reduction was re-scheduled for later in the afternoon.

Terrebonne Indigent Defender Board attorney Teresa King, who represents Laurent, had asked that the victim be questioned under oath as to her objections to what Laurent said and the victim agreed to do so.

At issue was the question of Laurent’s marital status.

When he and the victim traveled to Biloxi in October and obtained a marriage license, he stated he had been married once before, and that the marriage ended in divorce, according to records from Mississippi.

But other court records in Louisiana show an adittional marriage, in Shreveport, which was never dissolved.

A check of Caddo Parish records by the Terrebonne District Attorney’s Office show no divorce in Shreveport.

But when he spoke with Arceneaux, Laurent claimed that Shreveport was where both the wedding and the divorce occurred.

On Sunday, The Times interviewed the woman Laurent married in Shreveport, who said that so far as she is concerned the two are still married and had never been divorced.

The issue is significant to the victim, who has said she did not wish to marry Laurent in Biloxi and wants an annulment, although now, stripped of all financial resources, she has not yet secured the legal assistance she needs to make that happen.

The Times is not identifying the victim because of the sex crimes allegedly committed against her. Likewise the woman who came forward during the court appearance is not being identified, as the full nature of crimes she may allege has not yet been disclosed, meaning she may be a sex crime victim as well.

That woman was appearing in court on a theft charge, which is not known to have any relation to Laurent.

When court reconvened Thursday afternoon Laurent’s attorney, King, told Arceneaux in open court that she would have to withdraw from representation of the second woman because the possibility that she was a victim of Laurent created a conflict.

Thus unable to move forward with his request for a bond reduction, Laurent had to accept a re-scheduling and he was returned to the jail.

In addition to the charges he currently faces, Laurent is also being held for a parole violation.

Lance Geary Laurent