PORT BARRE, La. (KLFY) 21-year-old Darwin Fontenot was recently charged with malfeasance in office and 3rd-degree rape after a woman came forward, saying Fontenot offered her leniency on a traffic violation in return for sexual favors.
Fontenot admits to having sex with the woman, but says it was consensual and not related to the traffic stop.
“There was never a moment that I made the citation be about her and sexual activity,” Fontenot said.
He says on March 11, he pulled over a woman who was speeding on U.S. 190. When he ran her license plate, he discovered she had a switched license plate, which is a jailable offense.
“She explained that she could not receive that and get her car taken away and possibly go to jail for a switched license plate, so I cut her a break. I mean I have kids myself and that kind of touched me a little bit, and a kid needs their mother,” Fontenot said to News 10.
The former officer says he wrote her a ticket for speeding and let her off for the switched license plate.
And that was that, until a month and a half later, he said.
Police Chief Deon Boudreaux says on April 26, the woman filed a complaint with the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office, saying Fontenot gave her leniency on her citations because he asked for sexual favors in return.
Fontenot says it happened the other way around.
“She did propose the sexual activity to be brought up in exchange for me getting rid of the ticket
completely, and as I explained in an interview, that was not possible. After you recieve a citation, I’m never going to go back and try to change it or fix it,” he said.
Fontenot denies offering the complainant leniency for her traffic violations in return for sex, but he does not deny that sex did not happen.
“It was in no way, shape or form related to the traffic stop,” he said, “not even for a second.”
Fontenot says he did make the mistake of mixing his work life with his personal life, but making someone choose between sexual favors and a ticket isn’t something he’d do.
“I don’t have any shame because the sexual activity happened. It happened, but me saying that it did happen related to the ticket, that’s a different thing. You know, you have to be able to distinguish between the two,” Fontenot added.
The St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office is preparing to take the case to the district attorney for prosecution.
If Fontenot is convicted, he could face up to 40 years in prison, but he says he will fight the charges and clear his name.