Five jail deputies from the Washington Parish Jail have been arrested in connection with the rape and beating of an inmate. According to the Louisiana State Police, a total of 21 people were arrested in attacks on two inmates in the jail.
Five Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office jail deputies are accused of orchestrating and beating an inmate and raping another. Several other inmates were also found to have participated. According to investigators, the beating and rape occurred between July 26 and Sept. 5 based on discovered evidence. With that evidence, troopers with the state police obtained arrest warrants for the individuals involved, including the five jail deputies. The troopers arrested the following deputies at the jail without incident:
- 22-year-old former deputy Frank Smith of Ponchatoula
- 21-year-old former deputy Elliot Smith of Mandeville
- 19-year-old former deputy Austin Rogers of Franklinton
- 48-year-old former deputy Pam Willis of Tylertown, MS
- 29-year-old former deputy John Donaldson of Franklinton
All five deputies were charged with malfeasance in office. Frank and Elliot Smith were charged with aggravated second degree battery with Frank getting an additional charge of second degree battery. Austin Rogers was charged with principal to aggravated second degree battery.
The inmates arrested in the sweep received various charges ranging from first degree rape to simple battery.
“In early September I learned of an incident in the jail that I believed merited immediate investigation,” stated Washington Parish Sheriff Randy Seal. “To ensure a thorough and balanced independent investigation, I contacted both Louisiana State Police and the FBI. With our full cooperation, each agency investigated the incident, resulting in numerous state arrest warrants. I am grateful for the thorough investigative work performed by our fellow law enforcement agencies.”
The mother of the inmate who was raped said she found out about her son’s rape on Facebook. The mother who chose not to be identified demanded answers after hearing her son might have been a victim of sexual assault inside the Washington Parish Jail. It took two weeks before she was able to see her son.
“He told me that he was violated. He said he was in a cell by himself. He said they put 15 inmates in there with him, and then they took some of them out and left seven inmates in there. Those seven and the guards knew it was happening, and he said they didn’t do anything. They just laughed and cheered,” says the mother.
The mother reached out to the sheriff who admitted to her that her son was involved with an incident at the jail. The sheriff apologized for what happened to her son and told her that two of the deputies were fired.
“Mentally, he is not stable. He was shaking, and he could hardly talk to me. It was like he was embarrassed to see me,” says the mother.
The son is in jail on a charge of identity theft. According to the mom, the son is non-violent.