As allegations of abuse, nepotism and others swirl around the Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office, a video of reported inmate abuse at Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center has surfaced.
Reportedly, KTBS Channel 3 obtained a copy of the video and is set to air it Tuesday. Sheriff Gary Sexton says the video is not public record and the incident was investigated internally.
“This is an internal investigation, and the outcome has been determined,” Sexton said of the allegations of inmate abuse.
“One of the guards does not work at the correctional facility any longer, and the other is now over a work crew for the (Louisiana Army) National Guard. At one time, both held supervisory positions at the correctional facility, but are no longer in those positions.”
He says the alleged incident happened about a year ago, and as far as the video of the incident being released to the public, he says that’s part of the internal investigation and cannot be made public at this time.
However, he says there is a criminal statute regarding the unauthorized release of video, but at this time, does not know if any criminal charges will be brought against the person who released it, if any.
The sheriff’s office is under scrutiny by the Louisiana Board of Ethics following allegations of nepotism, inmate abuse and missing money from the sale of scrap metal. The nepotism reports are in regards to father and son, Chief Deputy Bobby Igo Jr. and his son Deputy Bobby Igo III as well as BDCC Warden John Lewis and his son.
The Press-Herald issued a public records request Monday seeking records regarding the department heads of the sheriff’s office and who is in supervisory positions.
An ethics board opinion was issued in 1999 (Ethics Board Docket No. 99-002) in which a similar situation arose in Lafourche Parish where Sheriff Craig Webre asked the ethics board for an opinion regarding his chief of staff Major Michael J. LeBlanc Sr. and his son Michael J. LeBlanc Jr. The opinion concluded that LeBlanc Jr.’s employment was not in violation of the Code of Governmental Ethics “based on the assumption that Major LeBlanc is not the head of any particular agency within the sheriff’s department.”
LeBlanc Sr., according to the opinion, was second in command to Sheriff Webre, “and has authority over all members of the sheriff’s office.”
“Major LeBlanc should therefore be disqualified from participating in decisions concerning his son’s hiring as well as decisions about promotions or salary increases if his son is employed by your office,” the opinion continued. “You, as sheriff, must take responsibility for any matters from which Major LeBlanc is disqualified.”
As these allegations against Sexton and his department are under investigation by the ethics board, the records requested will be produced as advised by his attorney, he says.