A Gretna man who claimed he falsely confessed to sexually abusing a teenaged girl in part because of the “high-grade marijuana” he smoked before meeting with a police detective was sentenced to 40 years in prison on Thursday (June 16).
Omar Duplessis, 31, was convicted as charged of forcible rape, for abusing the girl at least three times beginning when she was 13 and ending the on day before Thanksgiving in 2014, when she was 16.
In addition to receiving the maximum punishment for forcible rape, Duplessis also will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life after his release from prison, 24th Judicial District Judge Henry Sullivan ordered.
Judge Sullivan, who handed down the guilty verdict on May 27 because Duplessis waived a trial by jury, rejected Duplessis’ request for a new trial on Thursday. In handing down the maximum 40-year sentence, Judge Sullivan cited Duplessis’ “deliberate cruelty” in raping on “multiple occasions,” and of using force during the rapes to prevent the victim from resisting.
The victim told her mother about the rapes, but the mother did nothing, according to trial testimony, when the mother said in court that she didn’t believe her daughter’s accusations. The victim then disclosed the abuse to her uncle, who contacted the Gretna Police Department and led to Duplessis’ arrest.
Duplessis, one of nine witnesses who testified during the two-day trial, initially denied the accusation. In a second recorded statement, he told the detective that he was in his bed intoxicated when the girl attempted to have sex with him.
In the third and final recorded statement, he admitted to raping the girl “at least four times, maybe five, maybe, like once every – I don’t know.”
During the trial, however, he said he was at his job as a longshoreman on New Orleans’ riverfront when he learned of the rape accusation. He testified he didn’t immediately go to the Gretna police headquarters, but then “smoked a blunt of high-grade marijuana” before meeting with the detective to help him relax. He asserted that in part led to a false confession.
The girl’s mother, whose name is being withheld to protect the victim’s identity, pleaded guilty on Feb. 25 to failure to report the commission of certain felonies, meaning the rape. She received two years of active probation, because she did not disclose to authorities that Duplessis sexually abused her daughter. She testified for Duplessis during his trial.
Assistant District Attorneys Rhonda Goode-Douglas and Marko Marjanović prosecuted the case.