WEST BATON ROUGE PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Officials with West Baton Rouge Parish announced Tuesday four deputies have been fired and either have or will be arrested for misconduct at department facilities, according to officials with the West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office.
All four deputies are charged with malfeasance in office, and two are facing additional charges of sexual conduct prohibited with a prisoner.
The misconduct was revealed due to investigations into two different incidents involving inmate escapes.
In the first incident, Michael Jones, a kitchen worker and trustee at the West Baton Rouge Parish facility, escaped while taking out the trash. Major Dale Simoneaux, who spoke at the press conference, explained that a deputy did not physically escort Jones while he was taking out the trash. Jones was found missing during an inmate headcount.
In this case, Simoneaux said the only mistake deputies made in that incident was their reaction and response to the incident.
The second escape, however, revealed a larger problem for the agency.
Kovaria Williams escaped at the end of the night. While the inmates were moving to their bunks, Williams moved to the back of the yard and scaled the fence, according to Simoneaux.
While investigating this incident, officials learned of “gross negligence and misconduct” happening during this shift.
The employees charged as a result of the investigation include:
- Dimple Jones, employed for six months, charged with malfeasance in office, sexual conduct prohibited with a prisoner
- Taija Pearly, employed for six months, charged with malfeasance in office, sexual conduct prohibited with a prisoner
- James McClurg, employed for five years, charged with malfeasance in office
- Michael Lafayette, employed for six months, charged with malfeasance in office
As of Wednesday, Lafayette turned himself in, according to the sheriff’s office.
Major Simoneaux said the charges are not related to the escape, but rather to an unrelated incident involving a prisoner being transported to a motel in Port Allen.