Dead beat parents forced to pay up or go to jail

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Nearly two dozen parents who owe thousands in back child support are in the Calcasieu Correctional Center. It's the result of a multi-agency round up of dead beat parents.

"Our objective is to collect as much money as we can. Get that back into the family, to the custodial parent who actually has the child living in their household. We have more than 25 deputies helping us with the operation. They are going out in teams of two and bringing the parents into our office," explained Wendy Daigle, Calcasieu Child Support Enforcement Consultant.

According to Daigle they've prepared 150 warrants with a combined total of more than $2,000,000 owed to their office. It's not long before the dead beat parents start to roll into the place they've avoided. Each will have the opportunity to discuss their case and how much they owe in back child support. Daigle said they try to come to an agreement on what can be paid now. They go to jail if they can't reach an agreement.

With no get out of jail free card they start dialing for dollars - phoning a friend, family member, anyone who can help them pay up. But it's not just dads, moms also owe big money. Of the 150 warrants 21 are dead beat moms.

"We do have women that actually have cases in our office that have child support debt. They don't have the children in their household so they actually have a debt to pay in our office," said Daigle. "If we have to put them in jail than so be it. We're here to do whatever we can to try and proceed with enforcement on this case."

Of the 25 people brought in 20 went to jail, including three women. The Child Support Office was able to collect $14,600 and as a result of the operation expect at least an additional $4,000 to come in.

According to booking reports from the Calcasieu Correctional Center, the following were the 20 people arrested:

Lawrence Batiste
Bradie Bryant
Brian Coleman
James Dunse
John Hatten
Oharold Henderson
Quincy Hill, Sr.
Catlin Hosea
Brandon Jackson
Sherita Leger
Bruce Savois
Robert Sexton
Earl Sims
Lillian Touchet
Clarence Washington, Jr.
John William
Kim Witherwax
Jared Wix
Karen Young
Terry Zeno

Operation Child Support Roundup: is the combined effort of the Calcasieu Office of Family Support, Sheriff's Office, Clerk of Courts Office and the 14th Judicial Family Court.

Copyright 2011 KPLC. All rights reserved.