Broussard Chief Under Investigation After Sexual Harassment Allegations
A former Broussard police officer is accusing the city's police chief, Brannon Decou, of sexual harassment. That former officer says those acts of harassment include shirtless Snapchats from the chief, messages requesting "scandalous photos," and other messages laden with sexual innuendo.
Taylor Jones says he had been with the Broussard Police Department for 14 months when the alleged harassment began.
"After he kept on, I told him straight up that I'm not comfortable with it and it wasn't going to happen," Jones said. He ended up saying, 'that's alright, but keep it between us.'"
Jones says Decou began harassing him in November 2020. He says it started after Decou gave him a lead on a case he solved.
"He later texted me--like, the next day, on November 17--about how I did a great job and I'm welcome for the tip," Jones said. "He later clarified that he was making a joke with the tip comment about things outside of work."
Jones says he brushed off Decou's innuendo as a joke. Then, Jones says, Decou continued to send him messages. Jones also accuses Decou of sending topless photos of himself and of asking Jones to send pictures of himself.
"Later that same day, he added me on Snapchat and sent me a picture where you can clearly tell he was naked but was taken from just above the genitals up," Jones said. "When I opened it, I kinda ignored it because I was getting ready for work. I finished getting ready for work and left. Shortly after that, he sent me another message that said, 'You're going to leave me on read?' I tried not to answer what it was about. I told him that I was driving and that I forgot.
"He kept saying my wife would be alright with it. Maybe you should ask her if she'd be alright with it," Jones said Decou told him.
According to screen shots of the text messages, Snapchat messages, and Snapchat photos Jones provided to KPEL, Decou sent the bulk of the messages on November 17 and 18. The screenshots also apparently show Decou communicated with Jones via Snapchat on November 25 and on December 4 before sending one final shirtless photo on December 25.
"He's my boss. I didn't want to just tell him 'no' right out and possibly have to deal with that at work," Jones said about the continued contact between Decou and himself. "So I tried to skirt away from it (and) try change the subject a little bit--didn't answer him much."
Jones resigned from the police department on March 29. He says on that same day, he gave copies of the screenshots to the Broussard mayor's office and to other high-ranking officials in the Broussard Police Department. Jones also says he contacted the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, but Jones says they denied his claim.
"Since he stopped asking for pictures after I told him, 'no,' then there wasn't theirs to deal with. It didn't constitute sexual harassment. It wasn't their job to work on it," Jones says the EEOC told him.
Jones says he has heard that two other officers who have come forward with their own allegations. He says he know that one of those officers is in the process of filing complaints against Decou, but Jones couldn't say with whom those complaints will be filed. Jones says he expects more allegations against Decou to come to light.
"Ever since this dropped, more and more people have been coming forward with more stories," Jones said. "If you have experienced it, come forward with it. The more people we have, the better."
Chief Decou spoke with one of our Townsquare Media colleagues. Decou says the allegations include a lot of inaccuracies. However, he says he can't comment specifically on the case because it is under investigation.
We also spoke with Mayor Ray Bourque. He tells KPEL that he cannot comment on the matter because it is an ongoing personnel matter that's under investigation.
The City of Broussard released the following statement about the situation Monday morning:
No formal complaint against Chief Decou has been filed, however, immediately upon receiving an envelope of text messages between the Chief and a former deputy, the mayor contacted the city’s Human Resources attorneys, and an investigation was opened. While it is ongoing, this investigation will be thorough, honest, comprehensive, and confidential until it is concluded.The city’s Human Resources attorneys did try to reach out to the former deputy, but he cancelled the scheduled meeting last week. They have asked to meet with him this week to be able to conclude this investigation as quickly as possible.The Broussard Chief of Police is an elected position, therefore the Mayor does not have oversight over the position or the department, except concerning matters of the budget.The mayor will be transparent with the citizens of Broussard regarding this situation, as the safety and security of residents and businesses remain his top priority.
As for Jones, he says this experience has killed his passion and drive for law enforcement. He says he does not plan ever to return to that line of work.
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