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$200,000 Settlement in Lawsuit Over Louisiana Jail Guard Sexually Abusing Juvenile

by David M. Reutter

A $200,000 settlement was reached to resolve a civil rights action alleging a guard at Louisiana’s St. Bernard Parish Jail subjected a 15-year-old detainee to repeated sexual abuse.

The complaint stated that every day that guard Eddie Williams, 69, worked between June 2015 and January 2016, he subjected a female juvenile identified as “C.L.” to sexual abuse. According to the lawsuit, Williams asked to see her in her “birthday suit,” ordered her to get naked by taking off her top and bottom, told her to masturbate as he watched, ordered her to sit on the ground in her underwear and naked with her legs spread, and told her to stand in a specific spot prior to entering the shower.
Williams conducted this activity via intercom and viewed C.L. from a video-feed. His behavior “became more and more sexually suggestive and explicit during C.L.’s incarceration.” To persuade her to comply with his orders, he “bribed” her with candy and other food. Once, he allegedly said, “I don’t have any candy, but I have something else for you to put in your mouth.”

Williams also told C.L. he knew where her mother lived, and that he would “hurt or kill her” if she did not comply with his demands.

The suit was filed in federal district court in December 2016. As part of the ensuing investigation, Williams took a polygraph test. The Sheriff’s Office major who conducted the test found Williams “had definite significant emotional responses, which are usually indicative of deception” when he denied abusing C.L.

The district court held the polygraph test could be entered into evidence at a February 2019 hearing. The case was dismissed in March after the settlement was reached.

Despite the fact that Williams’ actions constituted “indecent behavior with a juvenile” and “molestation of a juvenile” under Louisiana law, no charges were brought against him. He reportedly remained employed with the Sheriff’s Office, working in its maintenance fleet. See: R. v. Pohlman, U.S.D.C. (E.D. La.), Case No. 2:16-cv-17865-SM-JCW. 


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Related legal case

R. v. Pohlman