State Police working with Mississippi authorities after LSU student accuses trooper of sexual misconduct
BATON ROUGE - The head of Louisiana State Police offered an on-camera interview Thursday to discuss a story first reported by WBRZ the day before: A trooper on leave amid a sexual misconduct investigation after complaints of an incident with a member of the LSU marching band following an away football game a few weeks ago.
"We've already taken steps, and should there be any criminal pursuit there, we've already started notifying Mississippi authorities," Colonel Lamar Davis told WBRZ Chief Investigator Chris Nakamoto.
Davis offered some insight into the story WBRZ.com was first to publish Wednesday. The trooper under investigation was on duty in Mississippi as part of the entourage accompanying LSU staff for the LSU-Mississippi State football game.
A female band member filed a complaint with LSU, describing what she said was an inappropriate altercation with the trooper. State Police was notified last week by LSU. Thursday, WBRZ learned, State Police found the allegations credible and placed the longtime trooper on leave. LSU said it immediately opened a Title IX investigation into the matter.
WBRZ has made an editorial decision not to identify the trooper, who is not under a criminal investigation at this time.
The female band member's lawyer, attorney and State Representative Sherman Mack, told WBRZ the band member alleges she was groped and talked to in a sexual manner. She immediately turned down the trooper's sexual advances. It happened in a hotel where he supplied a number of band members - some who were underage - with alcohol.
On Wednesday, Mack said his client is a good student and he has every reason to believe what she's saying.
"First of all, both she and her family say they respect law enforcement and back the blue," Mack said. "This is in no way an infringement on law enforcement. There was an incident that was inappropriate that she reported to the band director."
Thursday, the woman met with State Police.
"This is extremely concerning for all of us," Davis, the head of State Police, said in an interview Thursday. "This impacts not only our agency, but it impacts our community and any potential victims. Any time we have that, that's a major concern of mine."
District Attorney Hillar Moore said Thursday, out of an abundance of caution, the trooper's name is being added to a list of law enforcement officers with credibility concerns. The list will be shared with other district attorneys across Louisiana.
"That's the reason why we have this list," Moore said. "You want to disclose it ahead of time [instead of waiting] until trial and have an appeal and have it come out at the end."
Davis said as his agency will get to the bottom of what happened, he wants the public to know that this will not be swept under the rug.
"I'm going to do everything possible that if there's a problem in my agency, I'm going to fix it," Davis said. "We will own it, fix it, and do it the right way. I think we've taken those steps and continue to take those steps. When we are notified of these incidents, we will use the law and policy as intended to make sure we correct it first. And if there's a need to remove those individuals from our agency, we will remove them."
Davis could not provide a time frame on how long the administrative investigation would take.
The WBRZ Investigative Unit learned the the trooper involved is a Sergeant and has been with State Police for 21 years. He earns $101,647.78 annually. He's currently on administrative leave and is prohibited from working any extra duty. State Police confiscated his gun, badge and state-issued automobile last week.
Desktop NewsClick to open Continuous News in a sidebar that updates in real-time.
One found dead in Holiday Inn parking lot following double-shooting
Changes made at Juvenile Detention Center after breakout
2 people shot to death at apartment complex near Longridge Avenue
2 wooden churches being restored through 'Twin Steeples' art project in Ponchatoula
I-10 westbound near Grosse Tete closed Saturday night