Joseph Patrick Procell

Joseph Procell

MANSFIELD, La. – Sexual contact between a DeSoto Parish sheriff’s deputy and a woman he was transporting to jail has landed the deputy behind bars instead of the woman, Sheriff Jayson Richardson said.

Joseph Procell, 38, of Stonewall, was given until to 4 p.m. Wednesday to surrender to the sheriff’s office or face being sought as a fugitive. 

Richardson arrested Procell on charges of malfeasance in office and sexual battery. He was booked into the DeSoto Parish Detention Center and is held on an $80,000 bond. 

The sheriff's office and Louisiana State Police began a joint investigation of Procell after Richardson received a complaint on June 4 about possible improper conduct involving the now-former deputy and a female he arrested on an out-of-state warrant. Procell was placed on administrative leave and subsequently terminated for policy violations.

The investigation determined while en route to the detention center Procell was notified by a sheriff’s dispatcher that the state holding the warrant on the female would not extradite. Procell was instructed to return her to where he picked her up. 

The female was unaware of that conversation and told Procell she would do anything to keep from going to jail, Richardson said.

Procell turned off the camera in his patrol unit and "coerced" the female to perform a sexual act in exchange for leniency, according to the investigation.

The female was released from custody since the jurisdiction that issued the arrest warrant said it would not send anyone to DeSoto Parish to get her. 

Procell had been employed by the sheriff’s office since August. He graduated in April 2016 from the regional training academy while he was employed with the Stonewall Police Department.

State police assisted the sheriff’s office in the investigation.