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3 Investigates: The case against Gregg and Missy Hornbeak - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

3 Investigates: The case against Gregg and Missy Hornbeak

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Almost ninety days ago, Gregg and Missy Hornbeak found their lives up-ended. The husband and wife were arrested on sex charges.

"This whole situation has really taken them into an incredibly dark and sad place," Peter Flowers, attorney for the Hornbeaks, told KTBS 3 News.

Related Article: Former dance studio owners accused of molestation share their side of the story

Police seemed confident about the investigation when they made the arrests. Is the case as air-tight as previously thought?

The former dance studio operators have maintained innocence since their August 23rd arrests on charges including molestation of a juvenile. The two acknowledge- even if a jury sides with them- their reputations may be forever tarnished by the charges.

Flowers said his clients were blindsided when a former dance student, who now in her late 20s, claimed the couple molested her while underage. They were even more shocked when police told media outlets the duo had confessed.

"In my view, the evidence in the case seems to be thinning out a bit," Flowers said. "It turns out- as I suspected earlier- that there are no confessions."

Bossier Parish Sheriff spokesperson Bill Davis said the department stands behind earlier statements about confessions.

"For an investigator, you try to look under every rock and try to understand exactly what happened and bring the best case forward," Davis said. "That's why these interviews do take place, and the evidence will show in this case when it goes to trial."

Flowers points to a specific sentence in the initial press release as proof that the sheriff's department left statements open to interpretation.

"The victim tells detectives she was molested on multiple occasions by the Hornbeaks when she was between 10 and 17 years of age. When questioned by detectives, Gregg and Missy Hornbeak both admitted to having sexual encounters at least six times with the girl at their residence when she was a teenager."

Flowers agrees there were sexual encounters, but says they were between adults. Flowers says the term "teenager" is ambiguous. If a person is 17, 18, or 19 years old, those years are above the age of consent.

As for the additional charges in September related to child pornography, Flowers said the stem from two photographs of the same woman and her age will be in dispute. Flowers says she appears to be in her late teens or early 20s.

Related Article: More charges added to former dance studio owners accused of child molestation

Flowers adds in most child pornography investigations police recover stockpiles of the images, but that didn't happen here because his clients are not child molesters.

"To me it would almost be impossible for these people to be predators or pedophiles and virtually nobody out of all those people of all those years--other than this one person--make those allegations," Flowers said.

Davis is not so quick to paint all child predators with the same brush.

"It varies," Davis said. "Some people merely want to dabble in it, and then all of a sudden it becomes something they get hooked on whether it's pornography or- in this case- child pornography. If you really are dabbling in something very serious, we're going to take it very seriously from a law enforcement perspective."

KTBS 3 News spoke with the woman named in the case as the victim. She says she's been in constant contact with Det. Chad Madden, the investigator assigned to her case. She says Madden assures her the evidence is strong enough for a conviction.

Related Article: Former dance studio owners charged with molestation of a dance student

While many high-stakes cases are settled out of court by a negotiation involving lesser charges, Flowers says even a reduction in charges would require registration as a sex offender. He says that is not acceptable given his clients' innocence.

The Hornbeaks are due in court for a status conference Feb. 18, 2014. At that time, both sides will be able to negotiate a plea or set a trial date.

KTBS 3 News continues to follow the case.

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