Baton Rouge firefighter accused of raping child in Tennessee retires, still stands to collect publicly funded pension of $60,000 a year _lowres

Roman Bates

Baton Rouge Fire Department Capt. Roman Bates is no longer working for the department following his arrest in the rape a child last month, but he’ll still be able to collect his publicly funded pension of more than $60,000 a year for the rest of his life.

Bates was arrested in Orleans Parish late last month on a fugitive warrant from Shelby County, Tennessee.

He was accused by the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office in Tennessee of rape of a child, aggravated sexual battery, aggravated statutory rape and sexual battery.

Bates began his career with the Baton Rouge Fire Department in January 1990.

In a news release sent out Thursday, Baton Rouge Fire Department officials noted that Bates is no longer employed by the agency. However, Curt Monte, a Fire Department spokesman, said Bates retired and was not fired.

Bates’ monthly pension payment from the City-Parish Retirement System will be $5,039.84 per month, which is a little more than 75 percent of his current salary, said Jeff Yates, city-parish retirement director.

Bates could have maxed out retirement payments totaling 90 percent of his salary if he completed 30 years with the department. He is leaving with 25 years under his belt.

“Retirement benefits are a property right; they are not taken away because of what he did,” Yates said. “It had nothing to do with his employment.”

The state Legislature in recent years tightened the law to all public pensions to be taken away in the event that a person commits a felony related to their job.

Follow Rebekah Allen on Twitter, @rebekahallen. For more coverage of city-parish government, follow City Hall Buzz blog at http://blogs.theadvocate.com/cityhallbuzz/.