on September 24, 2016 at 11:46 AM, updated September 24, 2016 at 2:54 PM
A 19-year veteran New Orleans police officer was arrested Friday night (Sept. 23) on accusations that he raped a teenage male relative who visited his Algiers apartment earlier this year.
Officer Marcellus White is accused of luring the boy into his bedroom, pushing him onto a bed and performing oral sex on the teen against the boy’s wishes. Court documents said the 15-year-old boy and his mother have moved to Mississippi, unable to bear living in New Orleans in the wake of the sexual assault alleged to have occurred in March or early April of this year when the boy was 14.
According to an arrest warrant affidavit sworn by NOPD sex crimes detective Lawrence Jones, police investigators obtained from the boy’s mother a June 20 email exchange with White, in which the officer pleads for forgiveness while also asking that the mother drop her demand that White “step down from all positions” that give him access to minor children.
“Words cannot explain how I am sorry for the pain I have caused the family and the trust I have violated,” White wrote to the mother, according to the court documents. “In closing, your asking me to step down from ‘all’ positions that would put me in contact with minor children … Doing that would put further financial stress on me, due to having no other source of income other than my job.”
White, 45, was booked with felony counts of second-degree rape, molestation of a juvenile and indecent behavior with a juvenile. Second-degree rape is punishable in Louisiana by a five- to 40-year prison term, with at least two years without the possibility of probation or parole.
The NOPD said White has been placed on emergency administrative suspension, a common first step when an officer has been arrested. Records show White has previously been assigned to the NOPD’s Fiscal Management department and most recently to the 2nd District policing Uptown.
White, shackled and clad in an orange jail jumpsuit, was the lone inmate brought into New Orleans’ Magistrate Court on Saturday, where Commissioner Brigid Collins set his bond at $350,000. White was represented Saturday by public defender Thomas Frampton, but told the judge he expected to be represented later by Donovan Livaccari, lead attorney for the local chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police.
Frampton argued Saturday for a lower bond, asserting that, “These allegations are inconsistent with anything known about Mr. White’s history or career.”
But the evidence cited in the arrest warrant affidavit painted a different picture. In addition to the email exchange cited by officers, the report also said the victim’s mother phoned White to demand the truth about her son’s allegations.
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry,” White responded, according to the mother’s statement to police.
The report said that after the allegations were made this week from out of state, NOPD detectives assigned to the Public Integrity Bureau arranged for the boy to be forensically interviewed at a child advocacy center in Mississippi. Though he was unable to recall the date of the assault, he told interviewers it occurred in late March or early April when he and his brothers were visiting White’s home in the 3100 block of Rue Parc Fontaine in Algiers.
The accuser said he was asleep in another room when White woke him up at 2 a.m. and directed him to take a shower in the bathroom connected to White’s bedroom. The boy said White approached him after he came out of the shower, but that he told White, “Na, I ain’t with that.”
The teen said White pulled down his shorts, pushed him onto the edge of the bed, and knelt to perform oral sex. The boy told interviewers he asked, “What are you doing?” He said White responded, “Relax, I know what I’m doing.”
White is the third NOPD officer since February 2014 to be arrested on allegations of sexually assaulting a minor.
Officer Michael Thomassie was indicted on Feb. 13, 2014, charged with raping his girlfriend’s daughter in 2003 when the child was 7 years old. Though that sexual assault was not reported until July 2013, Thomassie was convicted of aggravated rape in August 2015 and four months later was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Thomassie has appealed his conviction and sentence to Louisiana’s 4th Circuit Court, which has not issued a ruling.
Officer Willie Gant Sr. was arrested in July 2014 on allegations that he twice committed sexual battery against a visiting relative, a 12-year-old girl. Gant’s trial date has been postponed several times, and another hearing in his case is scheduled for Wednesday.
White is also one of nine officers who was investigated in 2009 after Adolph Grimes III, 22, was fatally shot by police on New Year’s Day. Grimes was shot 14 times by a plainclothes police unit after allegedly shooting at the officers first. NOPD cleared all nine members and reassigned them to administrative desk duty.