Deputy under investigation
By Jeremy Weldon
The Mississippi Attorney General’s office declined comment Monday when questioned about news reports of a possible rape by a deputy of the Panola County Sheriff’s Department.
The story surfaced late Friday (March 9) when a Memphis television station reported the deputy had been on administrative leave for several weeks pending an investigation into the allegations made by a female officer of another law enforcement agency.
Sheriff Dennis Darby also on Monday offered no comment on the specifics of the case, noting that the original complaint was not made to his office, and he only learned of the matter from the Attorney General’s office.
It was his decision, Darby said, to place the deputy on administrative leave. Darby said the action was taken out of precaution and not because he has information about the case.
The Panolian questioned the sheriff about the television report, in particular the fact that the same station, and same reporter, seem to regularly receive news tips about Panola County, often before other media outlets, and in some cases before local law enforcement.
“I’ve wondered the same thing,” Darby said. “Obviously I have some enemies out there that want to make me and the department look bad, but I’ve learned to ignore them.”
Darby said he, just like everyone else interested in the case, is waiting to hear from the Attorney General’s office.
Because there has been no arrest, no pubic records regarding the investigation are available.
As the investigation has been on-going for several weeks, it’s assumed the Attorney General’s office will make a presentation to the next meeting of the Grand Jury, scheduled for April, if that agency believes charges are warranted.
For his part, the deputy on leave has given interviews to WREG in Memphis, flatly denying the relationship in question was anything but consensual.
“She wanted to keep a good clean reputation and that’s the only thing I can think of,” the deputy is quoted as saying to WREG. “The fact that I said something to someone and it made her mad.”