Officials within the West Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office have confirmed that four of their deputies have been arrested, charged and fired after evidence of misconduct surfaced during an investigation into the department.
A wide-scale investigation into the county’s prison and its staff was launched after two inmates escaped from prison on two separate occasions. The first incident happened when Michael Jones, a kitchen worker and inmate, was discovered missing during an inmate headcount. It was later revealed that Jones had escaped while he was taking out the lunchroom trash. Although a deputy is supposed to physically escort the prisoner during trash drop-off, no one accompanied him. During the second escape, inmate Kovaria Williams reportedly scaled an outer perimeter fence and fled on foot. The escape occurred near the end of the day while the rest of the prisoners were being moved to their bunks. Investigations into this particular incident found that the escapee was only successful because of the guard’s “gross negligence and misconduct.” While investigating these escapes, a shocking story came to light about an unrelated incident. One prisoner was reportedly sexually abused by officers while being transported.
As a result, four employees have been let go and formerly charged. Dimple Jones, who was an officer for six months, has been charged with both malfeasance in office and having illegal sexual relations with a prisoner. Taija Pearly, who was also employed for around six months, is facing similar charges after having inappropriate and prohibited sexual relations with a prisoner. Another deputy, James McClurg, is facing charges related to malfeasance in office. McClurg had been employed with the department for over five years. Michael Lafayette is expected to be charged with malfeasance in office, but police have not yet apprehended the suspect. He is currently considered a wanted suspect.