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Recording details sexual harassment allegations against former New Roads Police chief

1 month 2 weeks 6 days ago Wednesday, February 21 2024 Feb 21, 2024 February 21, 2024 9:12 PM February 21, 2024 in News
Source: WBRZ

NEW ROADS - Records of a conversation between an assistant police chief and an officer discussing possible sexual harassment by the New Roads Police chief raise new questions about a statement given by town officials.

The former New Roads police chief, Delaney Lee, resigned Feb. 5, ahead of a New Roads City Council meeting at which Mayor Theron Smith gave an update about the police department and Lee's departure. The council had been scheduled to discuss his job performance at the meeting. 

Smith said a female officer reported her relationship to Assistant Chief James Johnson on Jan. 24. The woman told the assistant chief that she had had an intimate relationship with Lee that ended the previous August. Smith said a report was filed with the Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff's Office, which determined no criminal charges should be filed. The investigation was then turned over to the mayor's office, which conducted an internal review.

Smith said that during the investigation, Lee acknowledged an inappropriate relationship with the officer. He also said that the officer provided a statement saying that Lee had never sexually harassed her.

However, an incident report documenting Johnson's initial contact with the officer, said the opposite.

"She then states this is happening because the two of them had been involved in an intimate relationship. [Name redacted] tells me that she feels like he's sexually harassing her and she has the text messages to prove it...," Johnson wrote in the incident report.

Two weeks after Lee resigned, the WBRZ Investigative Unit obtained a recording of the initial complaint against Lee. During the conversation, the officer said the two had a relationship that ended in August, but she was not comfortable at work and was being sexually harassed by her boss. 

WBRZ contacted Smith, who previously said there were no sexual harassment claims in the department, about the recorded conversation and the written report. Smith refused to answer questions about the allegations.

He said he hopes to hire a new permanent chief by next month and hopes everyone can move forward. 

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