Just what kind of criminal charge can keep a person from becoming a law enforcement officer? In the City of New Rhodes Louisiana, not even a forcible rape charge will keep you from being a commissioned police officer if you are 27-year-old Sam Jerome Milligan who was charged with the forcible rape of a fourteen-year-old by Opelousas City Police in 2009. That charge, which was later reduced to misdemeanor carnal knowledge of a juvenile and subsequently expunged, was known to the New Rhodes Police Chief before he hired Milligan to patrol the streets of New Rhodes, a town of about 5,000 people
According to WAFB.com:
“In 2009, Opelousas police arrested Milligan on a charge of forcible rape. Milligan later pleaded guilty to the reduced charge of misdemeanor carnal knowledge of a juvenile, and the case was expunged last year.
His bosses said they were aware of the case when they hired him.
“It was reduced,” the chief said. “Then he pled to a misdemeanor, which was expunged.”
An expungement seals all records of a case, allowing access only to law enforcement agencies and courts, making it difficult for the public to verify details of a person’s criminal history.
Lee said Milligan was 17 at the time and had a consensual relationship with the victim, who was 14. The victim allegedly embellished claims about what happened, and the charge was reduced after a rape kit refuted the claims, Lee said.
According to the Opelousas Police Department, Milligan was arrested on May 11, 2009 — making him just two months shy of his 19th birthday. If, as Lee states, Milligan was 17 at the time of the incident, that means the police didn’t charge him until more than a year later.
Milligan disclosed his carnal knowledge conviction on his application form, but 9News Investigators found no mention of his other arrests, which he was not required to disclose because they did not result in convictions.
His second arrest occurred a little more than two years later in September 2011. Milligan was charged with misdemeanor theft of goods. The case was eventually dismissed. No further details were available.
On April 14, 2016, East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff’s deputies arrested Milligan on a charge of domestic battery with child endangerment. An affidavit filed in the case accused him of throwing a bowl and spoon at his girlfriend’s face, “causing a laceration to her top lip” while she was trying to feed their 13-month-old child. Then as he proceeded to leave the residence, he “forcefully pushed her with his hands on her chest, causing her to fall down,” the affidavit said.
The victim in that case appeared to cooperate with authorities initially. A warrant was issued, and Milligan was arrested about a month later. A judge found sufficient probable cause to set a $5,000 bond and move the case forward, according to court records.
However, the 19th Judicial District Attorney’s Office later dropped the charge. District Attorney Hillar Moore said the victim refused to testify.”
New Roads Police Chief, Kevin McDonald says Mulligan was eager to be a police officer showing up at the department at least 20 times requesting a job. “He was real diligent about wanting to become a police officer, and after some time, we said, ‘This kid really has his heart in it and looked like he would make a good cop.’
Milligan’s personnel file from the city contained a citizen complaint from October from a woman, “who accuses Milligan of following her home I his patrol car late at night, sitting in front of her home while she was inside, and texting her unsolicited photos and videos of him playing with himself and photos of ‘his penis onside of objects.’ He also pulled her over twice without giving any tickets or explanation – ‘just to mess with (her)’ the statement read.”
According to WLOX, no action was taken against Milligan in regard to the complaint though he did receive a one-day suspension for wearing the wrong pants to work.”
New Roads police department came under fire in 2014 after Capt. Mark Munson of the New Roads Police Department was charged with failure to maintain control and having an open container. The charges came after an investigation into an accident showed that Pointe Coupe Sheriff’s Deputies arrived on the accident scene and found evidence that Munson had been drinking but failed to administer a breathalyzer test. Munson was placed on an indefinite unpaid leave of absence and three deputies involved in the incident were suspended.
New Roads was again the subject of an investigation in 2015 after it was discovered that half of their police officers were not POST certified and had little formal training before being given a badge and a gun.