A Denham Springs woman has been arrested for allegedly filing a false rape complaint against a Livingston Parish Sheriff's deputy, according to Louisiana State Police.
The State Police said in a news release that Sherri Penton, 38, reported on Oct. 24 that she was raped by a deputy in the back of his vehicle. The agency was called in by the sheriff's office to investigate due to the conflict.
An investigation found Penton and the deputy met on the dating site MeetMe on Oct. 20 and arranged a visit at a park in Walker the next day, according to the release. Three days later, the woman went to a Baton Rouge hospital to report a sexual assault.
During the investigation, the deputy told investigators he had consensual sex with the woman in a restroom at the park.
The release said DNA evidence collected at the park and in the deputy's vehicle corroborated the law enforcement officer's account. Evidence collected in the bathroom indicated the encounter happened there, while the State Police Crime Lab was unable to find evidence Penton was in the deputy's vehicle, according to the release.
The Louisiana State Analytical and Fusion Exchange Center also assisted in the investigation by probing online communications between the two, said Senior Trooper Bryan Lee.
The name of the deputy was not released. A Livingston Sheriff's Office spokeswoman said the deputy resigned during his suspension over the incident.
Penton was arrested in East Baton Rouge Parish on Monday for allegedly filing a false complaint against a law enforcement officer and criminal mischief. She will be charged in Livingston, Lee said.
Livingston Parish Sheriff Jason Ard said in a statement that he took the case seriously, but that in this case the facts did not back up the accuser's story.
"I treated the allegations against one of my deputies seriously, and the work of the (Louisiana State Police) found that the allegations against him were false," he said.