Conviction stands for DeQuincy man serving 140 years for sex crimes against children

Published 1:53 pm Friday, February 23, 2024

The conviction of a DeQuincy man who pleaded guilty to multiple charges of crimes against nature and indecent behavior with a juvenile — and was later sentenced to 140 years behind bars — will stand.

Charles Lee Fontenot pleaded guilty on Nov. 21, 2019, to two counts of aggravated crimes against nature and two counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile — a day after his trial had begun and after the mothers of his victims testified. He was sentenced to 50 years on each count of aggravated crimes against nature and 20 years on each count of indecent behavior with a juvenile. All sentences were ordered to be served consecutive to one another, totaling 140 years.

During the plea hearing, Fontenot admitted to committing acts against three girls younger than 13.

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The prosecution said the first minor would have testified that Fontenot “would come into her room almost every night, take her out of her room, bring her into the living room, lay her on the couch, and touch her with his hands. He would touch her around her bikini area, under her clothes. It happened more than one time.”

Prosecutors said Fontenot threatened the girl to not tell anyone.

The child was also prepared to testify that on one occasion, as Fontenot was getting out of the shower, he made her repeatedly grasp his private area after asking her to bring him a towel.

Prosecutors said Fontenot also repeatedly committed aggravated crimes against nature against a second child under the age of 13 by having sexual intercourse with her and giving her oral sex.

A third victim under the age of 13 was willing to testify that Fontenot showed her pictures of naked people on his phone and told her “they were doing what boys and girls do.” She would then testify that Fontenot “licked her privates” and that it was “very disgusting.”

There was also to be a phone recording admitted into evidence in which Fonenot admits his guilt to his then-girlfriend.

On June 30, 2020, Fontenot filed a motion for his sentence to be reconsidered. That motion was denied on Dec. 18, 2020. On Jan. 26, 2021, he filed a post-conviction relief motion, which was also denied.

Fontenot also appealed his conviction and sentenced to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal, stating he should be allowed to retract his guilty pleas due to ineffective assistance of counsel who pressured him to plead guilty. He said counsel “advised him to plead guilty to prevent the victims from having to testify so that he would not look bad in front of the jury.”

He claims his attorney told him he would get credit for time served, which made him think he would be “able to go home” that day. He said he ultimately signed the plea agreement without understanding the consequences.

The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal denied Fontenot’s claims, stating the nature of the crimes are “particularly heinous offenses, involving potentially serious and long-term emotional and psychological issues for the victims. We agree with the trial court that the extensive aggravating factors present here outweigh any mitigating factors.”