GOP candidate promising to protect children from LGBTQ+ people faced child cruelty charges 

Pastor John Raymond

Louisiana’s Republican Party has endorsed a candidate who who is promising to protect children from LGBTQ+ people – but has been charged with four counts of criminal cruelty to children.  

John Raymond, the lead minister of New Horizon Church in Slidell and the founder and headmaster of Lakeside Christian Academy, is hoping to win a seat in St. Tammany Parish. 

Louisiana Republican Party chairman, Louis Gurvich, confirmed to the Shreveport Times that the party’s executive committee had endorsed Raymond.

Jay Gallé, a former marine and businessman who is running against Raymond in the Republican primary, has branded the endorsement an embarrassment.

“[The party] puts itself out there as a protector of children, Gallé said. “I can’t express how disappointed I am that the Louisiana Republican Party has chosen to endorse a candidate with not one, not two, not three, but four criminal charges of cruelty to children.”

Raymond was arrested twice in 2022, on juvenile cruelty charges related to allegedly punishing students. 

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According to, in his role as a headmaster, Raymond is accused of wrapping packing tape around three 13-year-old pupils’ heads for talking too much in class, causing them to struggle to breathe and suffer pain when the tape was removed. 

The second arrest was for allegedly holding a four-year-old boy upside down by the ankles and whipping him. In another incident, he was accused of covering the boy’s mouth and nose with his hand to stop a tantrum, leaving the boy “out of it and lethargic… unable to stand”, according to the Lafayette Daily Advertiser.

Raymond turned himself in to police after they obtained a warrant for his arrest. He was charged with three counts of cruelty to juveniles.

He claims he is “completely innocent of these charges… loves children [and has] never hurt a child”  and that the charges stem from “disgruntled ex-employees with an axe to grind.”

Claims of an ‘epidemic of sexual grooming

The District 104 hopeful, who has supported Donald Trump and aired his opposition to same-sex marriage, ran unsuccessful bids in 2018 and 2019. 

His campaign website, which says the aim is to “fix Louisiana”, claims there “is an epidemic of inappropriate sexual grooming and social engineering taking place in public schools”, which is why he is backing House Bill 466 to “remove sexual grooming conversations from schools”. 

The anti-LGBTQ+ bill is a copycat of Don’t Say Gay, which the Democrat governor of Louisiana, John Bel Edwards, has condemned. 

If elected as a state representative for District 104, Raymond will, according to his website, “remain vigilant against this wave of transgender confusion seeking to dominate our culture and confuse our children”.