GONZALES — Already facing dozens of counts of child pornography possession, former Sorrento Mayor Wilson Longanecker Jr. was booked Monday on several counts of animal cruelty by state investigators already looking into the child porn charges.
Investigators with the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office allegedly found photographs and videos depicting animal cruelty on evidence seized Oct. 23 from Longanecker’s Main Street home during a morning raid related to the porn counts.
Laura Gerdes Colligan, spokeswoman for the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office, said Monday that a forensic analysis of that evidence, which Colligan did not specify, indicated Longanecker had abused animals.
Ashley Borel, who works in the Louisiana attorney general’s Cybercrime Unit, testified in mid-November during a bail reduction hearing in Gonzales that Longanecker’s laptop hard drive and two flash drives containing 40 child pornography videos and one image of child pornography were found in a locked safe inside a closet in his upstairs bedroom.
Borel added then that investigators also recovered a cellphone for which Longanecker had refused to give the pass code and which investigators had not been able to view, at least until then.
Twenty-third Judicial District Attorney Ricky Babin, who is prosecuting Longanecker, said a warrant on four counts of simple cruelty to animals and three counts of aggravated cruelty to animals was issued Monday.
Babin said at least some of the charges are related to Longanecker’s cruelty to a dog, but Babin declined further description of the allegations because he had not yet received a full report.
Longanecker, 42, has been in Ascension Parish Prison since his arrest Oct. 23 and was booked Monday on the animal cruelty counts, Colligan said.
Longanecker previously had been charged with 42 counts of possessing child pornography and one count of obstruction of justice, with bail set at $1.025 million.
According to Borel’s testimony and the bill of information prosecutors filed against Longanecker, the pornography images were of preteen children, some as young as 3 and 4 years old, engaged in various sexual acts with other children or with adults.
Longanecker’s arraignment, where he will enter his initial plea to the pornography and obstruction charges, is set for 9 a.m. Jan. 20 after the hearing was continued Dec. 15.
Longanecker, also a former town councilman and the son of former two-term town Mayor Wilson Longanecker Sr., was Sorrento’s mayor from mid-2011 to mid-2013. Wilson Longanecker Jr. did not seek re-election as mayor but opted for a failed bid to regain an at-large seat on the Town Council.
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