Deputy under investigation now on non-paid leave, sheriff says after WBRZ reports
PORT ALLEN – State Police said it is investigating a West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s deputy highlighted in a series of WBRZ Investigative Unit reports on allegations of malfeasance in office and abuse of power.
The troopers’ investigation comes less than a week after two WBRZ television and digital news stories on Deputy Ben Arceneaux. The two “felony offenses” were outlined for the first time in a court-ordered subpoena of WBRZ’s reports.
NEW, Wednesday 07/25: Sheriff Mike Cazes, in his first public address about the issue, said "Arceneaux can no longer be an active member of my office" and put him on non-paid leave. Click HERE to read the letter from the sheriff.
“State Police are investigating allegations of… one or more felony offenses,” state investigators wrote in the court order delivered to WBRZ Tuesday. The State Police investigation comes after “allegations that [Arceneaux]… conducted traffic stops and forced women to engage in sexual acts with him,” Assistant District Attorney Tony Clayton wrote in the subpoena.
Clayton filed the subpoena for the State Police investigators, a typical procedure.
State Police were asked to investigate by Sheriff Mike Cazes after WBRZ reports and questions about how his office handled an internal investigation into Arceneaux.
Cazes has repeatedly ignored WBRZ requests for comment related to the station’s reports.
WBRZ profiled in two stories, Cazes’ agency investigated Arceneaux after he was accused of stalking and sexually harassing women while on duty. Arceneaux was disciplined after the sheriff’s internal investigation.
Ahead of the initial story on WBRZ and WBRZ.com, Cazes’ department hired an out-of-town law firm to unsuccessfully resist a public records request filed by the WBRZ Investigative Unit for records tied to the agency’s completed investigation into the deputy. When documents were released, they were heavily redacted.
The documents indicate Arceneaux stalked a woman, placed his hand against her throat and grabbed the hair on the back of her head. The victim and her family told WBRZ that Arceneaux stuck his penis in her face and made her perform oral sex.
State Police started its investigation late last week. Troopers told WBRZ Saturday, "LSP received an official request from Sheriff Cazes of the West Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office to investigate accusations of sexual assault by a deputy. The investigation has been assigned to the LSP Bureau of Investigation."
Click HERE to watch the first story about the investigation.
Click HERE to watch the second story and hear from women who said they were victimized.
Follow the publisher of this post on Twitter: @treyschmaltz
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