SOURCES: Deputy under investigation turns in department issued equipment
PORT ALLEN- West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Deputy Ben Arceneaux turned in some parish issued equipment late last week, according to sources.
Sheriff Mike Cazes and his attorney out of New Orleans would not answer questions about whether Arceneaux was transferred to another division or whether he was suspended.
Arceneaux came under fire after women came forward alleging he sexually assaulted them. At least one said she was forced to perform oral sex on him during a traffic stop. Arceneaux asked her on another stop, "how far would she go to get out of a ticket."
Despite the department's findings, Cazes issued Arceneaux a two-week suspension without pay and two weeks at the work release facility for "conduct unbecoming." His alleged victims called it slap on the wrist and said he shouldn't have a badge.
When the WBRZ Investigative Unit aired the story last Tuesday, Sheriff Cazes refused to do an interview. Then, less than 24 hours after our report three more women came forward to WBRZ alleging Arceneaux sexually harassed them.
"He came to my place of work and showed me his downstairs," one woman said.
Over the weekend, Louisiana State Police confirmed Sheriff Mike Cazes met with them to investigate the allegations.
"It looks unbecoming to the sheriff's office that they didn't take a zero-tolerance approach and say we are not going to have this on our force," Racheal Hebert, Director of STAR said.
With State Police now looking into this case, alleged victims are pleased that an outside entity will take a look. However, many of them are concerned with the Sheriff's close ties to State Police and law enforcement.
"What should have happened is that person should have been taken off the streets because now it further makes it look like there's a coverup," Hebert said. "That there's something going on and it diminishes the trust we have in law enforcement to do these things in an appropriate way."
Last week, Assistant District Attorney Tony Clayton said he would have more information this week as his office launches an investigation too. He confirmed that he first heard of the allegations from the WBRZ Investigative Unit report.