NEW ORLEANS – A New Orleans police officer convicted of raping a girl has been sentenced to life in prison.
Judge Tracey Flemings-Davillier sentenced 41-year-old Michael Thomassie on Tuesday to serve life behind bars without the possibility of probation or parole, The Times-Picayune (http://bit.ly/1UxCntI) reported. A jury found him guilty of aggravated rape Aug. 20.
Thomassie was accused of raping the 7-year-old daughter of his then-girlfriend in 2003. The victim was in second grade at the time.
Prosecutors Laura Rodrigue and Tiffany Tucker told the jury four months ago that the victim's mother was a substance abuser who relied on Thomassie financially.
Judge Flemings-Davillier denied motions by defense attorney Pat Fanning seeking a post-conviction acquittal and order for a new trial. Fanning later filed a motion to withdraw as Thomassie's attorney. He said his client was now indigent and would be represented by the Louisiana Appellate Project to appeal his conviction.
Thomassie decided not to testify in his own defense.
New Orleans Police Superintendent Michael Harrison said he was taking immediate steps to remove Thomassie from their ranks. "There is no place in this department for officers who choose to commit acts of violence," he said.
Police spokesman Tyler Gamble told the newspaper that efforts to fire Thomassie from the force have begun.
Thomassie was a 13-year-veteran of the police department. He was placed on administrative reassignment in July 2014 when the Public Integrity Bureau and Child Abuse Unit launched a joint investigation into the rape allegations.
Information from: The Times-Picayune, http://www.nola.com