GONZALES — A state judge revoked the bail Tuesday of a former Ascension Parish sheriff’s deputy after he was arrested for the fourth time since 2013 on counts that have included child pornography, indecent exposure and carnal knowledge of a juvenile. In each of his first three arrests, he posted bail and was released.
Judge Jessie LeBlanc, of the 23rd Judicial District, ordered Todd Eric Tripp, 26, held without bail after he was arrested last week for child pornography and Internet solicitation.
LeBlanc met for about 15 minutes with Tripp’s defense attorney, Jake Lemmon, and Assistant District Attorney Joni Buquoi in closed chambers and emerged to say she had revoked Tripp’s $126,000 bail.
LeBlanc said she signed the arrest warrant for Tripp on the new counts, finding there was probable cause for his arrest.
He was arrested three times in the fall of 2013 on counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile, 306 counts of possession of child pornography, computer-aided solicitation of a minor and carnal knowledge of a juvenile, deputies said. Those counts are pending, according to court documents.
After each of those arrests, Tripp posted bail and was released from jail, records show. The $126,000 bail was the total he posted for the three arrests.
As LeBlanc delivered her ruling at a Tuesday morning hearing, Tripp, a former deputy at the jail who worked for the Sheriff’s Office a year and a half, sat at the defense table with his hands shackled to his waist, wearing an orange prison jumpsuit with “APSO Jail” emblazoned across the back. Tripp took the news with little emotion.
Ascension Parish sheriff’s deputies said that while Tripp was free on bail, he was sharing sexually oriented messages with a 13-year-old boy from Germantown, Tennessee, through social media. He had been discussing the possibility of traveling to Tennessee to visit the boy, though the trip never happened.
Deputies said Germantown police alerted them to the messaging, and a search of Tripp’s electronic devices March 16 turned up a nude photo of a juvenile and the messages with the boy.
Tripp, 10513 Maranatha Acres, St. Amant, was booked on single counts of possession of child pornography and computer-aided solicitation of a minor.
LeBlanc did grant Lemmon’s request Tuesday to reconsider bail when more information becomes available on the latest arrest.
Tripp is in solitary confinement at the Ascension Parish Prison near Donaldsonville.
Lemmon told the judge that he did not think Tripp’s solitary confinement was necessary and asked whether she could direct jail officials to put him in the general population. But LeBlanc told Lemmon to speak with jail officials first because she did not know the reasons they had Tripp in solitary confinement.
Court records show sheriff’s investigators continued their probe into Tripp’s activities following his initial arrest on Sept. 10, 2013, which is when he was fired from the Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies arrested him again on Oct. 8, 2013, and Nov. 7, 2013.
Follow David J. Mitchell on Twitter, @NewsieDave.