Washington Parish Jury Finds Bogalusa Man Guilty of Raping Young Child

Published 11:51 am Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Interim District Attorney Collin Sims has announced that on January 26, 2024, a Washington Parish jury found Joshua May, 31, of Bogalusa, guilty of first-degree rape of a young child and aggravated crime against nature.  Assistant District Attorneys Luke Lancaster and Casey Allen led the prosecution and District Judge Ellen Creel presided over the trial.

Testimony at trial established that in August of 2021, the Bogalusa Police Department received a walk-in complaint of sexual abuse. The mother of the 6-year-old victim told police that her daughter had disclosed to her that a family member had sexually assaulted her. The Detective immediately scheduled a forensic interview at the Children Advocacy Center’s Hope House wherein the child disclosed the defendant had repeatedly abused her sexually for several years.

During the trial, prosecutors showed the victim’s recorded forensic interview to the jury.  During her interview, the victim gave details of the sexual abuse she endured.  She said her abuser told her he loved her, to keep it secret or he would go to jail. She advised that it happened many times.

Prosecutors also played an audio recording of the victim’s interview and assessment at the Audrey Hepburn Care Center. In it, the child corroborated her earlier statement at the Hope House. She also disclosed that the defendant made her watch a video of family members doing the same thing that they were doing. The victim also testified live in court.

In closing arguments, Assistant District Attorney Luke Lancaster told the jury, “She wanted nothing more than for her [family member] to love her and to please him. That is pure innocent love.  And he used that against her to violate her over and over.  That is a real monster.”  “The victim already got a life sentence for what she went through at the hands of that evil.  And there aren’t enough life sentences to give him for what he’s taken from her.  But one is a start.  Give it to him.  Give him what he deserves.”

May faces mandatory life in prison without parole, the rape charge, and an additional 25 to 99 years for the aggravated crime against nature charge when he is scheduled for sentencing on February 15th.

Retired Detective Demmie Rice of the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Department investigated the case.