By Bonnie Culverhouse
A Springhill man, arrested on juvenile charges, is due to stand trial November 27.
Fernundo Lopez Thornton, 52, allegedly molested a juvenile between 2016 and 2020, when that juvenile was a young teenager. According to reports, he committed lewd and lascivious acts with a juvenile with more than two years difference in their ages “all by the use of duress, menace, psychological intimidation and by the use of influence by virtue of a position or control and supervision over the juvenile.”
Thornton is also charged with indent behavior with juveniles during October 2022 when he “transmitted, uttered and delivered a textual, written and oral communication depicting lewd and lascivious conduct, text and words to a juvenile who was under the age of 17 and more than two years younger.”
Thornton will be tried according to RS 14:81, which states (if convicted) “Whoever commits the crime of indecent behavior with juveniles shall be fined not more than five thousand dollars, or imprisoned with or without hard labor for not more than seven years, or both, provided that the defendant shall not be eligible to have his conviction set aside or his prosecution dismissed in accordance with the provisions of Code of Criminal Procedure Article 893.
“Whoever commits the crime of indecent behavior with juveniles on a victim under the age of thirteen when the offender is seventeen years of age or older, shall be punished by imprisonment at hard labor for not less than two nor more than twenty-five years. At least two years of the sentence imposed shall be served without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence.”
Webster Parish Sheriff’s investigators arrested Thornton. Judge Charles Smith will rule over proceedings with Webster Assistant District Attorney Hugo Holland trying the case and Attorney Mary Jackson defending Thornton.
This information has been provided by a law enforcement agency and by criminal court documents as public information. Persons named as suspects in a criminal investigation, or arrested and charged with a crime, have not been convicted of any criminal offense and are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.