SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - The attorney hired by Shreveport Fire Chief Craig Mulford says he has been hired because of concerns about accusations against his client, and what he calls "misunderstandings and misperception" about the ongoing investigation into allegations of criminal wrongdoing by fire department employees.
"Once the dust settles I think we're going to see that this is not as serious as we all thought it might be," said Attorney Paul Carmouche.
Two mentally challenged men are said to have been abused by firefighters there at Fire Station #8.
The firefighters are accused of allegedly hiring a prostitute to have sex with a mentally challenged man who was known to be a longtime visitor and friend to the station. They're also accused of carrying out humiliating abuse of the two men.
Carmouche says his client Chief Mulford is not under investigation and he defends the chief against claims that he's been less than helpful in responding to investigators. Chief Mulford said in a news conference on August 6 that his department was cooperating with the investigation.
Carmouche tells us he's been hired by Mulford because the chief is concerned about some of the allegations, pointing out that not all of the details have been revealed.
"And that's the problem because it's ongoing we can't release it and the chief can't release the details we all know," said Carmouche.
However, we were able to uncover details in the arrest warrants for firefighters Harris and Richardson. In those documents, the investigator claims that Chief Mulford dismissed the initial accusations as rumor, and even ordered an FBI special agent who was investigating reports of abuse, off of city property.
"If that statement is in there, based on everything I know about what has taken place in this case, I think that's an incorrect statement," said Carmouche. When asked if he believes the investigator made an incorrect statement Carmouche replied "Yes, and where the investigator got that information, I don't know."
Arrested so far are Jason Vaughan, Derrick Harris, Clint Richardson, and Billy Glass. They are all charged with cruelty to the infirm and principal to prostitution. Randy Chandler was arrested Wednesday (August 14) and charged with cruelty to the infirm. Chandler was not a member of Fire Station 8 at the time of his arrest.
Carmouche says Mulford personally hired him and believes the chief is using his own money.