A New Orleans judge has found a former New Orleans police officer guilty of misdemeanor simple battery and misdemeanor attempted simple battery after a two-day bench trial in Criminal District Court.
Wilie A. Gant, 61, was sentenced to serve a year in jail after his defense attorney asked the judge to waive delays and impose the maximum sentence.
Gant was on trial for inappropriately touching a 12-year-old relative on two occasions in July of 2014 while she was at his house. The girl testified at his trial.
The charges initially were filed as felonies, and the district attorney’s office reduced them to misdemeanors in April.
Criminal District Judge Robin Pittman sentenced Gant to serve six months on each charge in the Orleans Justice Center. The sentences will run consecutive.
Pittman initially said she wanted to delay sentencing until August, and requested a pre-sentence investigation report from the probation and parole department to help her decide on a sentence. She changed her mind at defense attorney Robert Glass’ request.
“So you want the maximum sentence for your client?” Pittman asked sternly. She questioned why Glass did not want her to get a report to learn more about Gant, which would help her “effectively and efficiently decide on what is the appropriate sentence.”
A woman sitting in court who appeared to be a family member or friend of Gant’s frantically waved her hand in the air as Pittman questioned Glass’ request.
Gant had no visible reaction as Pittman read his sentence. He stood tall next to his attorney, his hands in cuffs, and stared straight at the judge.
Glass filed a motion for an appeal, and requested Gant be allowed to post bond while his appeal is reviewed. Pittman denied bond, saying she believed Gant was a flight risk.
Gant retired from NOPD in 2016 after 28 years with the department.
District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro said his office is “pleased” with Pittman’s decision.
“While there now are stronger laws in place than at the time of this former police officer’s shameful offense against this victim, this represented the best outcome possible against this child predator given the witness cooperation provided to us,” he said.
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