Fourth deputy arrested after probe uncovers alleged bribery, sex with inmates
UPDATE: A fourth Sheriff's deputy, Michael Lafayette, has turned himself in.
PORT ALLEN - Three West Baton Rouge deputies have been arrested and another is wanted after an internal investigation revealed corruption within the department.
WBRZ first confirmed the arrests of multiple deputies last week after an internal audit of the work release program. The audit came after repeated inmate escapes in recent weeks.
"This type of behavior will not be tolerated," Major Zack Simmers said. "You will be arrested, fired and charged to the fullest extent of the law"
The sheriff's office detailed some of the charges and identified the deputies in a Tuesday morning news conference. James McClurg, Dimple Jones, and Taija Pearly were arrested in the past week. a fourth deputy, Michael Lafayette, has failed to turn himself in to authorities.
All four deputies are facing charges of malfeasance in office. Jones and Pearly are also booked for prohibited sexual conduct with a prisoner.
WBRSO Chief of Operations Dale Simoneaux said while one of the escapes last month was the result of simple human error, the second is what prompted them to take a closer look at the work release program. An investigation revealed the shift supervisor failed to notice an inmate who went missing during a nightly "lockdown". Simoneaux said the escape showed "gross negligence" from the staff and led to the discovery of unsavory behavior during that particular shift.
Simoneaux said Pearly and Lafayette, two of the deputies working the same shift, left the facility to drive an inmate to a motel in Port Allen. There, Pearly allegedly had a sexual encounter with that inmate. The sheriff's office says McClurg, the supervisor, took bribes and allowed the behavior to go on during his shift.
Jones, another deputy at the West Baton Rouge Detention Center is charged in a separate incident involving a murder-for-hire plot at the center last month. Few details were immediately made available about Jones' alleged actions other than that they included sexual contact with an inmate.
The sheriff's office says it hopes the arrests set a clear example for its other employees.
"We literally took two deputies out of uniform and put them into prison stripes immediately, in front of the other deputies. And they were booked into the facility where they worked," Simoneaux said. T
All four deputies have been terminated from the sheriff's office.