A former Jefferson Parish resident faces spending the rest of his life in prison, for his conviction on Tuesday night (Feb. 7) of raping a girl on her 10th birthday five years ago.
Brian Banks, 52, was convicted as charged of the aggravated rape of the child in his West Bank apartment in February 2012. The victim, now age 14, is not being identified.
She testified that during a visit to his apartment in Terrytown, Banks ordered her to go to his bedroom, where he forced himself upon her. She recounted the abuse for a jury and to forensic interviewer Brittany Bergeron of the Jefferson Children’s Advocacy Center. “If you tell anybody, you’re going to hell,” the victim told Bergeron in repeating what Banks told her.
The victim testified that she was too embarrassed to report what happened, and she did not understand that she was raped until later in life, when she took sex education at her school. She said nothing about the rape for three years, until her mother, concerned about her daughter’s trouble in school, asked her to speak with a member of their church congregation who worked in the criminal justice field.
The crime still was not immediately reported. In April 2015, however, the victim and a classmate passed a note back and forth in class, in which they shared their stories of being sexually abused, according to testimony. Their teacher intercepted the note and alerted a school counselor, who in turn notified police.
The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office opened its investigation. The victim consistently recounted the crime to detectives, a doctor at Children’s Hospital in New Orleans, a forensic interviewer at the Jefferson Children’s Advocacy Center and to staff at the Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Office.
Banks lived in Houston, Texas, at the time he was arrested on July 7, 2015, as a result of the victim’s disclosure. In testimony, he denied raping the child. He asserted he was playing golf with a friend at the time the victim was raped, and in doing so, he contradicted a statement he made during a previous court proceeding.
The jury deliberated 2 ½ hours before reaching its unanimous decision. Life in prison is the mandatory punishment for aggravated rape under Louisiana law. Judge Nancy Miller of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Banks on Monday (Feb. 13).
Assistant District Attorneys Thomas Sanderson and Lindsay Truhe prosecuted the case.