WBR grand jury scheduled to hear case involving deputy accused of sexual misconduct
PORT ALLEN- At least three women have been subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury in the case against West Baton Rouge Parish Deputy Ben Arceneaux, according to Assistant District Attorney Tony Clayton.
Earlier this year, one woman alleged Arceneaux pulled her over and demanded that she perform oral sex on him, according to an internal affairs complaint. Much of the document was heavily redacted, but the WBRZ Investigative Unit spoke to the alleged victim who told us what Arceneaux demanded. As the West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office was investigating, another woman came forward making similar allegations. However, because the report is vague, it's unclear if that case was fully investigated.
The WBRZ Investigative Unit had been looking into the allegations against Deputy Arceneaux for months. Station attorneys had to get involved for the West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office to release their report about the incidents. That report revealed Arceneaux was disciplined earlier this year after being moved to the jail. The documents also indicated he was unpaid for a time.
Following WBRZ's stories, WBR Sheriff Mike Cazes placed Arceneaux on unpaid leave and called in the Louisiana State Police to investigate. State police confirmed they have concluded their investigation. However, they haven't released a copy of their report.
Clayton says the grand jury will hear the evidence on October 12 and determine whether to charge Arceneaux.
As law enforcement watchdogs heard about this case, they said the sheriff's office should have taken action sooner against the deputy, since internal affairs documents show Arceneaux admitted to doing what one of the women alleged.
"This deputy has shifted from a protector to a predator," Rafael Goyeneche with the Metropolitan Crime Commission said. "It doesn't get much more serious than an officer abusing his position for his own purposes."
After the Investigative Unit aired the story about this case, three additional women came forward to WBRZ. Legal experts said women who have been pulled over by Arceneaux in the past could make a good argument to have their cases reviewed.
"I would think that any female defendants have a strong claim that they were pulled over for the wrong reasons, the charges that he pressed against them, and if he went against any of the victim's family members or the victims themselves again," LSU Law professor Ken Levy said.