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Firefighters Accused Of Abusing Disabled Men

9:25 PM, Aug 9, 2013   |    comments
3 firefighters at Shreveport Fire Station No. 8 have been arrested on cruelty to the infirm and principal to prostitution charges. (Photo: Henrietta Wildsmith, The (Shreveport, La.) Times)
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SHREVEPORT, La. -- Federal and state officials are investigating three Shreveport firefighters who allegedly abused two middle-aged disabled men, got them drunk and watched as at least one of the men had sex with a woman.

Derrick Harris, 50, of Shreveport, Clint Richardson, 26, of Keithville, and Billy Glass, 37, of Keithville, each faces charges of cruelty to the infirm and principal to prostitution. Harris was arrested Aug. 2, Richardson on Monday, and Glass on Tuesday. Each has posted $105,000 bond.

Cruelty to the infirm carries a penalty of up to a $10,000 fine and up to 10 years in prison.

Watch: Police News Conference

FBI spokeswoman Mary Beth Romig confirmed the agency is involved in the investigation but would not release details as to when or how the agency became involved.

Louisiana State Police Capt. Doug Cain also confirmed his agency's involvement, which he said began about a week ago at the request of the FBI.

Police and fire officials are releasing few details but confirm the alleged activity occurred at Fire Station No. 8.

The victims apparently are in their mid-40s to mid-50s and are described as having the minds of children. The (Shreveport, La.) Times met with one of the victims and his friends, before Glass' arrest Tuesday, and that person identified Harris and Richardson as being among those involved in the abuse.

The two victims hung out at Fire Station No. 8 and shared special bonds with firefighters, friends and area residents said. For years, they were the first people someone would meet when they walked into the station.

"This is sickening," said Haley Bordelon, who lives near the station. "They both are just fascinated with the whole fire department. For firefighters, of all people, to do something like that is sad. They are there to help, not hurt people."

Caleb Calk, a friend of the men, said he once watched as firefighters made one of the victims get on the ground, then roll over and bark like a dog. Calk and his girlfriend told the firefighters to stop, he said.

"This has been going on a long time," Calk said earlier this week. "Last week, they gave (one victim) a condom, told him to go in the bathroom to put it on and watched as he had sex with a woman they had come up to the station."

The Times has made several attempts to talk with the three accused firefighters or their attorneys regarding the allegations. A woman who answered the phone at Richardson's home earlier this week hung up on a reporter. And Wednesday, no one answered the door at his residence or at Glass' home.

Fire Capt. Barbara Sellers, who serves as president of the Shreveport firefighter's union, also was not available for comment earlier this week. Meanwhile, Shreveport Fire Chief Craig Mulford declined to specifically address the criminal allegations against the firefighters during a recent news conference about the arrests.

"I'm not going to speak to any details of the investigation or the ongoing investigation or where this investigation may wind up," Mulford said during the news conference.

The three firefighters are on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation.

Shreveport City Council Chairman Michael Corbin is anticipating some public outcry regarding the arrests during next week's council meeting.

"A number of citizens have called, many who have special needs children who are concerned, asking what the city council is going to do," Corbin said. "When the investigation is complete, we will see what the mayor's response is and if the City Council needs to get involved."

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