A Marrero man was convicted as charged late Wednesday (Sept. 14), of molesting two girls in his home.
Ricky Gros, 51, was convicted of two counts of sexual battery of a juvenile under age 13, and of indecent behavior with a juvenile. The offenses occurred over a period of time beginning in 2006, when the victims were under the age of 10.
Gros was acquainted with the girls, both of whom were 7 years old when he first touched them inappropriately while they visited his James Drive home. One of the victims testified that Gros had both them sit on his lap while on his sofa, where he gave them bubble gum, and that he put his hand in their pants and touched them inappropriately.
The victims’ disclosure was delayed for more than one year after the last incident in 2009, until one of the girls told a family member. That victim’s mother, in turned, called the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office in October 2010, according to trial testimony.
After the investigation began, the mother and her daughter encountered Gros in public on three different occasions. At the time, the suspect was free from custody on bond. On one of those incidents, they ran into Gros at a grocery, when the mother noted her daughter’s reaction, the mother testified.
“She grabbed ahold of me and started shaking,” the mother testified. Her daughter said, “’He’s here, he’s here.’ I said, who?” The mother said she looked up and saw Gros standing in front of them.
According to the mother’s testimony, as a result of the abuse, the girl tried to commit suicide five times, was pulled out of school, sees a psychiatrist and is prescribed medication. “It’s been very hard for her to cope with life in general,” the mother testified.
Gros, who testified, denied abusing the girls, both of whom testified against him. He asserted it would have been physically impossible to touch the girls under the circumstances they described.
The Jefferson Parish jury returned with its verdict just before midnight Wednesday, finding Gros guilty of all three counts. At the time of the trial, Gros was free on bond but was remanded to the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center in Gretna to await his sentencing.
He faces 25 years to life in prison for the sexual battery and two years to 25 years for the indecent behavior charge, in addition to a lifetime of sex offender registration if he is released.
Assistant District Attorneys Josh Vanderhooft and Blair Constant prosecuted the case.