Former Ascension Parish sheriff deputy re-arrested on child porn charges _lowres

Todd Tripp

GONZALES — The defense attorney for a former Ascension Parish sheriff's deputy accused of possession of child pornography, carnal knowledge of juvenile and other sex counts is seeking to settle the case "in an amicable manner to all sides."

Defense attorney Jake Lemmon said he plans to meet with prosecutors before the next hearing date for Todd Eric Tripp on Jan. 17 to discuss a resolution before trial.

For more than three years, Tripp, 28, St. Amant, has faced 306 counts of child pornography possession, indecent behavior with a juvenile, computer-aided solicitation of a juvenile, and carnal knowledge of a juvenile.

Since May 2015, Tripp has also faced additional counts of child porn and solicitation of a minor by computer.

Ascension Parish sheriff’s deputies said that while Tripp was free on bail, he was sharing sexually oriented messages with a 13-year-old boy from Tennessee through social media. Tripp had been discussing the possibility of traveling to visit the boy, though the trip never happened.

Without sharing his strategy, Lemmon said he has provided information to prosecutors as part of the bid for a settlement.

"I have presented evidence that would mitigate criminal intent," the attorney said.

Lemmon made his comments after a status conference Monday in the long-running case before Judge Jessie LeBlanc of the 23rd Judicial District Court.  

At one point earlier in the cases, Lemmon had sought a sanity commission, arguing in court papers that Tripp suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. Lemmon later withdrew the request, leaving himself the option to raise the request later.

Prosecutors noted in court papers in July that they would pursue 50 of the child pornography charges in a first trial against Tripp. 

Tripp, a former deputy at the jail who worked for the Sheriff’s Office a year and a half, was arrested three times in the fall of 2013 on child porn and other counts but released on bail. Tripp was fired after his initial arrest in September 2013, while deputies continued their investigation.

Then he was arrested again in the spring of 2015 on the two additional counts and had his $126,000 bail revoked by LeBlanc.

Tripp has pleaded not guilty to his charges but remains in Ascension Parish Prison. 

Follow David J. Mitchell on Twitter, @NewsieDave.