RADE informant files civil lawsuit against RPSO, rapist
RAPIDES PARISH, La. (KALB) - The confidential informant (CI) raped by Antonio Jones, 48, of Alexandria, during a Rapides Area Drug Enforcement (RADE) operation on Jan. 13, 2021, filed a civil lawsuit Thursday, Jan. 12.
The victim names multiple members of the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office as defendants, including Sheriff Mark Wood.
On Nov. 17, 2022, Jones was convicted on two counts of third-degree rape by a Rapides Parish jury and later sentenced to 10 years on each count to run concurrently by Judge Chris Hazel. In light of the criminal history and conviction of Jones, also known as ‘Mississippi,’ the Rapides Parish District Attorney’s Office filed a motion to reconsider Jones’ sentence on Dec. 16, finding it “far too lenient.” A hearing on that motion is set for Jan. 23.
Jones, a known drug dealer, was standing trial for raping the informant during a drug buy. During that buy, Jones forced the victim to perform oral sex on him twice. As an informant, the victim was wired with a microphone and hidden camera to record the drug buys she was involved in. However, during the buy with Jones, that feed was not monitored in real time.
News of the incident first broke in an article by the Associated Press after the agency received a tip.
The lawsuit details how the petitioner was facing drug charges in 2020. Her attorneys, Alan Pesnell and Jermaine Harris, allege RPSO coerced the petitioner into acting as a CI and, in exchange, she would not be charged with the felony offenses, which carried a sentence of two years at hard labor.
According to the lawsuit, the petitioner worked mostly with her handler, Deputy Cassier Saucier, as well as Lt. Mark Parker, who are both listed as defendants. The pair claimed they would monitor her purchases and protect her safety, assuring her they would be close by during the drug buy in case the situation turned dangerous.
The lawsuit alleges that Saucier told the victim they feared for her safety due to the “inordinate” length of time she had been in Jones’ home during the drug buy.
“Saucier admitted that the officers had a discussion about entering Jones’ home to secure petitioner’s safety, but that Saucier decided to let things “play out.”
It goes on to call the actions and failures of Saucier, Parker, Wood and RPSO “willful, outrageous, reckless and flagrant,” as well as “so outrageous that it may be fairly said to shock the contemporary conscience.” The lawsuit also includes a direct quote Parker made to the AP in their reporting of the incident, in which he said of the victim, “She was an addict, and we just used her as an informant like we’ve done a million times before.”
At the center of the AP article was the notion that the RPSO is behind the times in purchasing monitoring equipment and has a systemic issue of misusing and mistreating. The lawsuit latches onto that idea, alleging similar failures by RPSO. Among those failures include failing to properly train officers for work with CIs, systemic failures to protect CIs from harm and failure to purchase monitoring equipment that could be viewed in real.
“The notion that RPSO did not have any devices that would monitor in real time in the year 2022 is simply not credible.”
During the November 2022 trial, the victim testified that she had worked with RPSO because she wanted to help clean the streets and get her life back together. She told jurors she was not pressured by RPSO, does not blame them, and, at that time, had not retained counsel to sue RPSO.
The victim is demanding a jury trial, citing violations of her civil rights, physical and emotional damages and legal fees.
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