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|OPSO deputy indicted|
A major with the Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Office has been arrested and charged with identity theft, computer fraud and obstruction of justice.
Major Michael Karl Davis was arrested Thursday by FBI agents following a 19-count indictment handed down by a federal grand jury.
Davis is the computer services director for the Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Office.
The indictment alleges that, on nine separate occasions from April 9, 2010 until Oct. 19, 2010, Davis unlawfully accessed an email account belonging to an individual identified only by the initials "KL."
"KL was a former employee of the Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Office and had a personal email account with AOL," the indictment reads.
Ouachita Parish chief deputy Jay Russell issued a statement calling the indictment a "regrettable situation for Mike Davis."
"It's a shame that the person responsible for this indictment will not stand up and take responsibility for this action," Russell said.
Russell said the Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Office has and will continue to be cooperative as the investigation moves forward.
"My statement has been consistent in saying that this investigation is about the personal and political actions of one person, not the department," Russell said.
According to the indictment, Davis "intentionally and without authorization, and in excess of authorization, accessed and caused to be accessed a protected computer by means of interstate communications and thereby obtained and caused to be obtained information...."
Because AOL email servers are housed in the state of Virginia, federal interstate communications laws would apply, the indictment says.
Federal prosecutors also allege Davis committed identity theft.
The indictment states that, Davis used "an AOL email address or username and password, with the intent to commit and in connection with any unlawful activity that constitutes a violation of federal law...."
A final count of obstruction of justice was included because, prosecutors say, Davis wiped the hard drive of the computer used to commit the crimes.
This constitutes obstruction of justice, according to prosecutors.
Deputy U.S. Attorney Mignonne Griffing filed the four-page indictment in U.S. District Court on Sept. 28.
Griffing could not be reached for comment.
Ouachita Parish Sheriff Royce Toney said he was told of Davis's arrest earlier in the day.
"I have not seen the charging document, thus, I obviously cannot comment about allegations," Toney said. "It is disheartening when a law enforcement officer is accused of wrongdoing. Nevertheless, I want the citizens of this parish to know that I believe Deputy Davis to be a person of the highest integrity. He has served the citizens of Ouachita Parish very well during his tenure with this department."
Toney said Davis, like all individuals accused of crimes, is innocent until proven guilty.
"I believe in our system of justice and ask everyone to withhold judgment until Deputy Davis has been afforded an opportunity to defend himself in a court of competent jurisdiction," said Toney. "He is merely charged; he has not been convicted of anything."
"I continue to support Deputy Davis and his family, and my thoughts and prayers are with them," Toney said.
The Ouachita Citizen will continue to update this story as details emerge.