Grand jury decides not to indict LaGrange substitute teacher

By Theresa Schmidt - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -A Calcasieu Grand Jury has decided there's not enough evidence to charge a 26 year old substitute teacher arrested last month for alleged inappropriate sexual contact with a student at LaGrange High. Marcus Lafanette is now speaking out.

In March the Calcasieu Sheriff's Department announced the arrest of Marcus Lafanette who had served as a substitute teacher at LaGrange. Lafanette was booked into jail for alleged inappropriate sexual contact with a fifteen year old girl. But now the grand jury has returned a no true bill on Lafanette. He and his attorney Cliff Newman were at the courthouse as the grand jury reported. Says Newman, "Marcus Lafanette was found no true bill meaning there was no basis for this charge. I would hope in the future that judgement is not passed on a young man whenever an accusation is made and results in arrest. A person is innocent until proven guilty."

Lafanette says, "I just want to thank God and I just knew that I didn't do anything and I'm innocent and it was just terrible. It's been a terrible month, going through all this, knowing I didn't do nothing, kind of scared to go in public because I don't want people to tell me anything or look at me funny for something I didn't do."

The young man's father, Mark Lafanette,  says it's been rough on the family. "I just hate that my son was falsely accused of this and the pressure that it put, the strain that it put on me and my family and especially him to be locked up for four days for something he did not do. He was accused of this and before they found out if it was true or not he was locked up for four days and I just hope that no other individual in the world go through what we went through with this here."

The 26 year old says he had been interested in the possibility of a teaching career, but no more. "I was a welder and I got laid off work and I was just doing something to make my ends meet at home, trying to better myself and I liked it. And I was like, maybe I was making a difference you know, in these kids lives. Maybe I'm doing something that I can help. And then somebody going to come and just destroy me. I was thinking about going back to school to become a coach and a teacher but that's all out the window now. I mean, my dream is kind of ruined."

Lafanette says he has no idea why a student would make allegations against him. He expresses hope he'll be able to find a job to support his wife and child.

The Calcasieu District Attorney's Office is not offering any statements concerning the case at this time.