Jury takes only 8 minutes to issue guilty verdict in rape case

An 18th Judicial District Court jury deliberated only 8 minutes before finding a White Castle man guilty of first degree rape this evening (June 21).

Patrick Callegan, 59, of 37325 Lonestar Road, White Castle, was arrested for the rape of a 6-year-old girl on June 17, 2017. At the time, Callegan lived near where the child was living. Callegan initially admitted to certain aspects of the crime after having being identified by the child as the perpetrator of the offense to law enforcement and to medical personnel.

Callegan initially pleaded guilty to second degree rape, was sentenced to 30 years in prison, and has been in jail since his arrest. However, a law change last year allowed him to change his plea to not guilty. From that point, District Attorney Tony Clayton and his team have vigorously pursued a tougher charge of first degree rape, which carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison.

The three-day trial began on Monday. The case was tried by Assistant District Attorney Chris Edwards, who credited the Iberville Parish Sheriff’s Office with doing excellent police work and providing the DA’s Office with extensive evidence.

“We called law enforcement as witnesses, and the victim was brave enough to testify in the trial,” said Assistant DA Edwards. “This very quick verdict was the result of a team effort and a very courageous little girl, who wanted to make sure Callegan never harms another person. Hopefully her courage will help other sexual crime victims come forward to law enforcement.”

“It was a very emotional trial, and very difficult on everyone, including the jury,” Edwards said. “We thank them for their service in this terrible crime against a child.”

District Attorney Tony Clayton said, “After the law changed where unanimous guilty verdicts are now required, it opened the door for those convicted to change their plea. I am telling these criminals that if they change their plea we are coming at them full force with the toughest charges possible, especially in cases like this. If they are going to put these victims through the torment of a trial, we are going after them and they will suffer the consequences. In this case, Callegan went from 30 years in prison to dying in prison.”

18th Judicial District Court Judge Elizabeth Engolio presided over the trial. She set sentencing for  July 31, 2023.