VILLE PLATTE — While they hope to one day know just how and why they were falsely accused in a child sex case involving three young girls, the owners of The Pig Stand restaurant in Ville Platte on Friday chose instead to focus on the future rather than looking back.
“My business has suffered severely because of these false allegations against us, but we’re here today to clear my family name and my business,” said Barry Giglio, 57, who stood behind a lectern, flanked on either side by his wife, two attorneys and a private investigator during a Friday afternoon news conference.
A grand jury last week declined rape charges against Barry and Marla Giglio, 51, and six others who had been accused in the child sex investigation.
The probable cause affidavit filed in the case accused the eight adults of forcing three children, ages 4, 5 and 7, to have sex with them inside a small trailer in Church Point, said Opelousas attorney Ed Lopez.
The allegations within that affidavit were so “horrendous” that any judge would have signed off on arrest warrants, Lopez said.
“It was the wildest accusations that you could possibly hear from young children,” Giglio said. “It was unbelievable.”
All eight adults were arrested in May following a joint investigation headed up by State Police.
Lopez said some of the adults knew each other and some did not.
“These are the most serious allegations that a businessman can have as it relates to his business,” said Donald L. “Chick” Foret, a New Orleans attorney who also represented the Giglios. “The grand jury thoroughly investigated the matter and came back with a no true bill because there was no basis for the allegations.”
Foret said the allegations, while ultimately false, devastated the Giglios’ restaurant, resulting in a 75 percent drop in business.
At this time, there are no plans to seek further legal action, Barry Giglio said.
“I hope that the community looks at this real good and gives me another chance to prove that I am a good person and that I am good for this community,” Barry Giglio said. “I love this community.”
The grand jury also declined rape charges against John Wayne Stelly, 57, of Church Point; Alice Stelly, 55, of Church Point; Jennifer Stelly, 31, of Ville Platte; Lawrence Sidney Ricks Jr., 35, of Ventress; Marty Blood, 42, of St. Landry; and Brandy Blood, 27, of St. Landry; none of whom were present at Friday’s news conference.
The grand jury made no decision on whether to pursue other sex charges against John Wayne Stelly and Alice Stelly, which means other sex charges could be revisited at a later date.
The District Attorney’s Office has declined to comment about the future of the investigation.
Foret said both the Giglios fully cooperated with investigators and even testified before the grand jury, answering every one of its questions.
“There was never any hesitancy to cooperate with investigators in this case,” Foret said.
It remains unclear exactly why this happened, Lopez said.
“From the very beginning this whole thing sounded terrible and sounded fishy and it turned out to be fishy,” Lopez said. “I’m hoping that one day and one day soon we will know more about the motives behind this thing.”
Foret said they have the greatest respect for State Police, but “it’s clearly proven that in this case that these folks did nothing wrong and someone made a mistake.”
Trooper Stephen Hammons, spokesman for State Police, did not return a call to his cellphone seeking comment Friday.
Daniel Denoux, a private investigator, said there were a couple of crucial mistakes in the case.
“The time frames and the location of the incident just did not work and we knew that from day one,” Denoux said.
Lopez said State Police alleged that the incident occurred in October, but the children were in the state’s care by that time.
“They were in state custody when State Police says when this supposedly happened,” Lopez said. “To me, that gives an idea of the lack of thoroughness on the part of an investigative agency, when the document that you put into court proves the innocence of the client.”
Fortunately, “the criminal justice system worked. Justice was served,” Foret said. “These allegations were proven to be false.”
Lopez said the grand jury worked late into the night and took three days to thoroughly investigate the case. That included calling all of those involved in to testify.
Foret said they may one day conduct an autopsy of the investigation, but their primary motive right now is “to put Mr. Giglio back to where he was before he got arrested.”