Criminal Justice

Deputy jailed on rape, kidnapping charges

Correction: An earlier version of this story mistakenly reported that the deputy had a court appearance on Monday. In fact, the District Attorney’s Office has until Nov. 9 to accept or refuse charges; a court appearance is not scheduled.

By Matt Davis, The Lens staff writer|

An Orleans Parish sheriff’s deputy was arrested Friday on charges of sexual malfeasance, aggravated rape, and second degree kidnapping.

Dejuan Thomas booking photo courtesy of Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office.

Deputy Dejuan Thomas remained in custody, after a magistrate set his bond at $105,000 Saturday morning. He is scheduled to appear in court again on Monday afternoon, according to the docket report.

An anonymous tip about the arrest was received by The Lens at 1 p.m. The Times-Picayune, the office of Independent Police Monitor Susan Hutson, and the Orleans Parish Prison Reform Coalition also were notified.

A sheriff’s deputy on duty at the Intake Processing Center subsequently confirmed that Thomas is employed as a deputy by Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman and that he was arrested Friday. The deputy preferred not to be named because of instructions by Gusman not to speak with news media.

Gusman’s paid spokesman, Malcolm Ehrhardt, did not respond to a request for comment, and his firm had not issued a press release about the arrest as of Saturday afternoon. The Ehrhardt Group has also stopped distributing press releases to The Lens.

“Based on your repeated inaccuracies, we have found that the best way to deal with The Lens is to have you file public records requests though the sheriff’s attorneys,” Ehrhardt told a reporter last month, when The Lens asked to be added to Gusman’s distribution list for press releases.

This latest incident follows the high-profile suicide last month of an inmate who suffered asphyxia after eating half a roll of toilet paper. Gusman issued a warrant for the arrest of the deputy on duty during that incident. Allegedly, he had walked away from his post when the inmate was supposed to be on suicide watch.

Gusman is also under increasing pressure as the Department of Justice has said it plans to pursue a consent decree to force him to improve conditions in the jail.


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