Officer accused of misconduct

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 9, 2010

VIDALIA — A Vidalia police officer has been placed on paid administrative leave following an accusation of sexual misconduct.

While he said he could not discuss the specifics of the case, Vidalia Police Chief Ronnie G. “Tapper” Hendricks said that Lt. Terence Williams was placed on leave Monday.

The alleged victim in the matter went to the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office and filed a report Saturday morning accusing Williams of a sex crime, Hendricks said.

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While he said that he believes the officer will ultimately be exonerated, the matter is being handled according to the Vidalia Police Department’s policy and procedure manual, Hendricks said.

That means turning the matter over to the state police to be investigated, he said.

“To protect everybody — the officer, the victim — you jump in there immediately and hand it to the state police,” Hendricks said.

Louisiana State Police Troop E Public Information Officer Scott Moreau confirmed Monday that LSP detectives had taken a role in the investigation.

No formal charges have yet been filed, and Hendricks said he believes evidence will bear the officer out.

“With any department or law enforcement agency, people’s eyes are on us and we get accused of many things,” Hendricks said. “We want what is best for the department and the community, so we are letting the state police look at the matter.

“We hope for the best and we are certain it is.”