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After WBRZ report, authorities to meet with sheriff about deputy's sexual misconduct

5 years 4 months 1 week ago Wednesday, July 18 2018 Jul 18, 2018 July 18, 2018 8:30 PM July 18, 2018 in The Investigative Unit
Source: WBRZ

PORT ALLEN - Three more women claim they were sexually harassed by West Baton Rouge Parish Deputy Ben Arceneaux less than 24 hours after the WBRZ Investigative Unit reported on allegations he sexually assaulted two women and had been the focus of a department internal affairs investigation.

The documents were obtained through a public records request, but not easily. The WBRZ Investigative Unit had to hire an attorney to get the records the West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office claimed were not public. The documents indicate Arceneaux stalked a woman, placed his hand against her throat and grabbed the hair on the back of her head. The documents are heavily redacted but the victim and her family told WBRZ that Arceneaux stuck his penis in her face and made her perform oral sex.

A day after WBRZ's story aired, three additional women came forward saying they were the targets of unwanted sexual advances by Arceneaux.

"One day he came in where I worked and asked if I wanted to learn how to drive a stick, and he showed me his... 'downstairs,'" one woman said.

Another told WBRZ she filed complaints with the sheriff's office. She said Arceneaux stopped her on multiple occasions while he was on duty and flashed his penis at her.

"He should not be wearing a badge," another woman said. "It was intimidating."

Following an internal affairs investigation, the West Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office suspended Arceneaux for two weeks without pay. Arceneaux was also moved to the WBRSO Work Release Facility across the street from the jail for two weeks. Following the one-month punishment, he was back patrolling the streets. The case was never turned over to District Attorney Ricky Ward's Office.

Assistant District Attorney Tony Clayton told WBRZ his office is conducting a thorough review of what occurred.

"The sheriff has done his due diligence, and we are meeting next week as soon as possible to discuss this matter further and to keep an eye on the evidence," Clayton said.

Clayton added his office had not seen any of the reports yet.

"The sheriff always does a good job with his investigations and his processes, so I would never question him," Clayton said. "But, here we will look at the evidence, follow the evidence and it will lead us to the proper conclusion."

Rafael Goyeneche is president of the Metropolitan Crime Commission. Goyeneche said Arceneaux should not be carrying a badge and should have been fired.

"This deputy has shifted from a protector to a predator," Goyeneche said. "It doesn't get much more serious than an officer abusing his position for his own purposes."

Alleged victims WBRZ spoke with agree.

"It's not right," one woman said. "All women have rights and just because a man has a badge doesn't mean they can get away with anything."

Throughout the course of WBRZ reporting on the situation, Sheriff Mike Cazes has ignored multiple text messages and phone calls requesting an interview.

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