A former Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office deputy was arrested Thursday on allegations that she carried on an "illicit relationship" with an inmate awaiting trial on a murder charge.
Sheriff’s Office investigators accuse Jenae Simmons, 25, of failing to report and even encouraging the inmate after he beat another man in a fight orchestrated by a second deputy on Dec. 1. That other deputy, Kenneth Tapp, was booked earlier this month on the same count of malfeasance in office.
A Sheriff's Office spokesman said that Simmons resigned her position on Dec. 9.
Simmons denied the allegations in a telephone interview and said she never had a relationship with the inmate, Bradley Bright, who is accused of killing a man during a drug rip in New Orleans East in May 2014.
“It’s pretty much fake charges,” she said. “They just need someone to blame something on. There’s a lot going on with the Sheriff’s Office.”
The Sheriff’s Office says the fight happened inside tier 1-A on Dec. 1. Deputy Tapp is accused of letting Bright out of his jail cell to fight with inmate Kevin Matthews. The Sheriff’s Office said that surveillance video, inmate phone calls and interviews with both deputies proved that the men were allowed to fight each other.
Bright called Simmons after the fight to brag about how well it had gone, according to an arrest report. Deputies said he told her, “you know it went platinum.”
Simmons responded, “you a beast,” according to the arrest report. Deputies said in the arrest report that that statement “would cause a reasonably prudent person to believe she was happy with what he did.”
Simmons admitted that she made no effort to report the fight, according to the arrest report.
Deputies did not indicate in the arrest report the nature of the alleged relationship between Simmons and Bright, or when they believe it began.
Simmons denied that there was any kind of relationship between her and Bright.
“First and foremost, I did not have a relationship with Bradley Bright. A better word they could have used was that they claimed I was using favoritism, but as far as relationship, there was no kind of relationship,” she said.
Simmons also noted that she was not on duty when the fight occurred.
“How am I going to report it if I’m not there?” she said.