The trial for a New Orleans police officer accused of raping a young girl is scheduled to begin Tuesday.
Michael Thomassie, a 12-year NOPD veteran, faces charges that he raped a girl more than 10 years ago. The girl was between seven and nine years old during the time of the alleged incident.
Thomassie is accused of raping the young girl sometime between Oct. 1, 2004 and Dec. 31, 2005, according to our partners at Nola.com/The Times Picayune. He pleaded not guilty.
The New Orleans Police Department suspended Thomassie without pay after a grand jury indicted him in February of last year.
The charge is not related to his conduct as a police officer, the paper reports. The young girl was someone in his care.
The upper high remains in control, which will lead to another hot and humid day.
A heat advisory is in place with heat indices reaching the triple digits and surpassing 110 degrees in several locations.
However, an upper feature should send a weak front into the region later Tuesday afternoon and trigger a good chance for showers and storms - around 50-60 percent is possible.
The storms may not develop early enough to prevent temperatures from reaching the mid and upper 90s, but it will at least provide for much needed rainfall.
We will see a break from the extreme heat this week with a chance for a few showers this weekend.
New reforms will be announced Tuesday to ensure that sexual assault cases are handled properly and efficiently.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu will join members of the New Orleans Police Department to address sexual assault crimes in New Orleans.
Tuesday's press conference follows staggering statistics released Friday by the New Orleans Police Department. New crime numbers show that the number of reported rapes in the city increased by a staggering 55-percent last year.
Chief Harrison says that increase is likely due to the new way rapes are reported.
"We're up in the number of rape this year largely attributed to the fact that we've changed the way we report rapes, the way citizens are reporting them," Harrison said. "We've modified and enhanced the entire sex crimes unit. They're working hand-in-hand in our office with our advocates. There's a lot of oversight. We've added manpower to it. Citizens are feeling better about reporting it to us."
Chief Harrison also said Friday that he looks forward to adding 29 recruits to the street next month.
Tuesday's news conference starts at 1:30 p.m. at Gallier Hall on St. Charles Ave.