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A comprehensive look at Station 8 allegations - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

A comprehensive look at Station 8 allegations

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SHREVEPORT, La. -

The Aug. 2 arrest of a Shreveport firefighter, Capt. Derrick Harris, made headlines. It was just the beginning, however, of a scandal that already has lasted more than a month and likely will continue to tarnish the heroic image of the department as it plays out in court.

At the basis of the charges -- principal to prostitution and cruelty to the infirm -- is the allegation that several SFD firefighters paid a woman to have sex with a mentally disabled man on June 14 in the Station 8 bathroom. During their investigation of this one alleged misdeed, police report that they uncovered a complicated -- sometimes caring, sometimes abusive -- relationship between the firefighters and two disabled men who hung around Station 8.

Culture of Abuse?

In the best light, these two men, ages 40 and 58 years old, were treated like friends and equals. One police report calls the older disabled man the station "mascot." Attorneys for the accused say their clients took care of the men's most basic needs by buying them food, clothing, and offering them a place to stay.

"Those firefighters are very close to these individuals and have done a tremendous amount of things for the family members -- several of them -- and it's causing a lot of pain and distress for the firefighters and to the family members," John Settle, attorney for Derrick Harris, said Aug. 13 after his client's first court appearance.

Settle says at least one of the alleged victims was sent to Disney World on the donations of the firefighters, and Peter Flowers, attorney for Clint Richardson, says some Station 8 employees were honored at an award banquet for their relationship with the disabled men.

In the black-and-white of police reports, however, what may have been considered pranks during a 24-hour shift may look like cruel hazing. These men from the 24-hour A-shift are accused -- sometimes individually and sometimes as a shift -- of acts that range from locking a victim in a closet for a short time to feeding them dog food and urine. They paid not just for a lap dance at a strip club, but provided a prostitute for one of the men inside the fire station.

The Investigation Begins

While the relationship between select firefighters and the disabled men is certainly under question, so are the actions of the suspects after the investigation began.

At least one firefighter admits to burning the reported prostitute's phone number after the investigation began. In another police report, an interview subject tells police the firefighters lied to investigators about the entire sex exchange and asked her to do the same.

With so many people involved and so many allegations out there, it can be difficult to remember who is accused of what.

KTBS 3 News provides a breakdown of suspects, the charges, and the accusations.

Unless specified, the following information comes from court documents. The information comes from investigators, the suspects, other firefighters, and the 26-year-old woman at the center of the prostitution charges.

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