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Jun 26, 2014 5:30 PM by associated press

Shreveport fire chief indicted for malfeasance

Shreveport Fire Chief Craig Mulford surrendered Thursday to Caddo Parish authorities on charges of malfeasance in office.

A grand jury handed up a secret indictment that became public once Mulford turned himself in at the Caddo Correctional Center. The Times reports Mulford is charged with five counts of malfeasance in office. Each charge carries a $5,000 bond.

A grand jury indicted Mulford and another person following an investigation into the Shreveport Fire Department administration's handling of alleged misconduct by five firefighters.

Mulford posted a $25,000 bond and left flanked by his wife Robin and his lawyer, Paul J. Carmouche.

Carmouche said the allegations against his client were "absolutely ridiculous."

Last summer, five firefighters - Derrick Harris, Jason Vaughan, Clint Richardson, Billy Glass, and Randy Chandler - were arrested for mistreating and playing cruel pranks on a mentally disabled man who often visited Fire Station No. 8. The firefighters, except for Chandler, also are accused of hiring a prostitute to have sex with another intellectually-challenged man who was known informally as a "mascot" of the station.

According to court documents, Mulford reportedly responded to the allegations in June 2013 by interviewing some of the firefighters and concluded it was all merely a rumor originating from a disgruntled employee.

In an affidavit by Rod Demery, a Shreveport Police Department detective assigned to investigate the alleged misconduct, Demery wrote that he learned the firefighters "all told the same story of denial" to the chief, which later unraveled.

Demery also wrote that the whistle-blower, a fire department employee, reported the alleged misconduct to the FBI, but when an FBI agent tried to ask questions, Mulford "ordered the FBI special agent from city property, forbidding the special agent from interviewing the reporting party."

The grand jury indictment had to do with reports that Mulford initiated a cover up of the firefighter misconduct scandal, a charge Carmouche denies.

"The firemen at Station 8 were fired," Carmouche said. "They were arrested, and they're facing trial, so if there was a cover up it wasn't a very good cover up."

Carmouche added that the investigation against Mulford was simply the result of an angry employee who had made statements that she was going to "get the chief," and that "she was going to burn him."

It's not clear whether Mulford will take a leave of absence from work while the case is pending. That decision rests on the city government, Carmouche said.

Mulford responded to questions from the media only by saying, "This too is the day that the Lord has made and I'm gonna rejoice and be glad in it."

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