GRAND ISLE – The city of Grand Isle
has settled a lawsuit that alleged the mayor and police chief derailed a child
molestation investigation to protect a politically connected resident.
But Richard Trahant, who represents the
child’s family, told the Louisiana Record that though the settlement was best
for the family, he wished some of the videotaped depositions of Grand Isle
officials could have been presented in a courtroom.
“It’s pitiful to watch some of these
depositions,” he said, noting several instances where he said Grand Isle Mayor
David Camardelle and Police Chief Euris Dubois contradicted themselves and
other evidence. “I wanted to get this all out in open
The suit accused the two public officials
of conspiring to protect Jerry Dantin, a Grand Isle resident who has been
characterized as a friend of the two, and who allegedly had illegal sexual contact with a 6-year-old boy.
The boy is now 12, and Dantin was never
convicted of the charges, despite trials in 2011 and 2012 that ended in hung
juries, and an attempted third tried in 2013 that was rejected after he was found not
competent to stand trial because he suffered from "vascular
dementia," which affected his memory.
The child’s lawsuit alleged that the two
elected officials were directly responsible for botching the investigation that
followed the molestation allegations and that their conspiracy to protect Dantin
further victimized the child.
Trahant said it was revealed in the
deposition that Dubois, the now-retired police chief, had no law enforcement
background (he was a former shrimp boat captain) and, by law, should have
recused himself from the investigation and contacted a Jefferson Parish special
Instead, court documents said he
participated in the initial interview of Dantin, and even allowed the mayor to
transport him to the police department. During the interrogation, Dantin
allegedly admitted to the crime – a confession that wasn’t tape-recorded
because a recorder didn’t have working batteries.
can be the police chief and be the administrator of the office, but he can’t do
police work unless he has more training,” Trahant said. “Interrogating a
suspect in a felony child abuse case, you need to be more than a police
officer; you need special training.”
Trahant said the boy’s family has moved
out of state and is trying to move on with their lives. He said the settlement
money would help with that.
“I would never have called him (the victim) to the
stand anyway, but part of the reason we settled is we didn’t want the boy to
have to go through all this again,” he said.