Community reacts to sexual battery arrest of popular family doctor

"It's really a shame because he's got a lot of clients. A lot of patients," said long-time resident Brenda Ernst, "A lot of people I know go to him. It's a shame."

PONCHATOULA - Just underneath the surface of the calm and quaint atmosphere in this small Tangipahoa Parish city is a shockwave of surprise over allegations coming out of the Allen's Family Practice Clinic.

"It's really a shame because he's got a lot of clients. A lot of patients," said long-time resident Brenda Ernst. "A lot of people I know go to him. It's a shame."

The Attorney General's Office says Dr. Gregory Allen turned himself in to the Tanigpahoa Parish Jail Friday after arrest warrants were issued for three counts of sexual battery.  Arrest records show a female patient reported that Allen made unwanted sexual advances toward her during an examination at the office. The arrest warrants were issued after investigators substantiated the claims, according to a spokeswoman with the AG's Office.

The complaint came in on October 4 to the Ponchatoula Police Department. But Chief Bry Layrisson says because so many city employees are patients of Dr. Allen's, they decided to forward the case to the AG's Office to avoid any conflict of interest.

Allen declined comment for this story, but word of the arrest has led to a brewing debate over social media and a cautious buzz around town.

"Not to take away from any of the allegations, Dr. Allen has helped our family," said patient Paolo Cenni, who also takes his family of eight to see Dr. Allen. " If my wife was here, she would agree. This is truly a good man."

While the Attorney General's Office is asking the community to come forward with any information about the case, or Allen, by calling 1-800-256-4506, many say they're anxious to let the case play out in court.

"It's a wait and see thing I guess," said Ernst.

This is the second Northshore sex crimes-related arrest by the Attorney General's Office in as many days.

On Thursday, 36-year-old attorney Victor Loraso of Covington was booked on three counts of distribution of sexual abuse images/videos of children.
 

© 2017 WWL-TV


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