NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The jury was picked and sworn in and the trial of a 66-year-old man accused of sexually assaulting three young girls was about to start when Gerald Page withdrew his not guilty plea and accepted a deal from the District Attorney’s office Thursday (Sept. 25), according to a press release from the DA.
Page had been charged with one count each of first-degree rape and second-degree rape and three counts each of sexual battery and indecent behavior with a juvenile, court records show. However, his plea agreement dropped the first-degree rape charge. The other counts were not amended by the deal, according to the DA’s office.
Two of the victims were sisters in their early teens, the DA’s office said, and the third was 11 years old when Page assaulted them. Page was arrested in February 2015, when the youngest victim came forward about the abuse. According to the DA’s office, the child had been raped and assaulted for a “prolonged” period of time when she was left in Page’s care in 2014.
The other two victims -- who are now in their 30s -- said they had also been abused when they were around the same age and had been left in his care by “trusting family members," the DA’s office said. Page’s relationship to the victims was not clear.
Under the deal, Page was sentenced to 20 years in prison, which the DA’s office said was approved by the victims, their families and Criminal District Judge Karen Herman. Victim impact statements were given in court Thursday before Page was sentenced, the DA’s office said. Page’s sentences were ordered to be served without the benefit of probation or suspension, court records show, but Page will be granted credit for the time he served while awaiting trial. Online jail records show Page was booked in July 2015.
Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannnizzaro said he is “pleased with the outcome" of Page’s decision to change his plea.
“We had three very brave and determined victims who were prepared to tell this jury what this man did to them in violation of their trust. To secure what likely amounts to a life sentence without having to put these victims through the rigors of a trial is a result we and they certainly appreciate," Cannizzaro said in a statement.