BR.angolafolo700.111017.jpg

Dept. of Corrections Secretary Jimmy LeBlanc, left, and Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola Warden Darrel Vannoy, right, talk, just after the end of an update press conference by West Feliciana Sheriff's Office and others Thursday, Nov. 10, 2017, at the West Feliciana Courthouse, on an incident involving a juvenile and an inmate at the Angola Rodeo. They said their ongoing investigation of an alleged rape of a juvenile at the rodeo by an inmate, which was reported by one local television station, has yielded no results that it actually occurred, and that the station's reporting is erroneous.

The Louisiana Department of Corrections has reinstated the Angola prison warden, who was placed on leave last week when officials launched a payroll investigation.

The investigation, which began after Warden Darrel Vannoy self reported an incident to DOC leaders, has cleared him of any criminal wrongdoing, department spokesman Ken Pastorick said in a news release Tuesday evening.

However, Pastorick said the department's internal investigation is ongoing.

DOC officials have released very little information about the incident that prompted the investigation, saying only that Vannoy reported an incident pertaining to "certain Angola staff and department payroll administration rules." They have not said why Vannoy — who reported the issue himself — was the only Angola staffer placed on leave.

Vannoy took over leadership of Angola in late 2015 after the abrupt resignation of storied former warden Burl Cain, who stepped down after The Advocate's reporting shed light on private real-estate deals he had entered into with relatives and friends of favored inmates, in apparent violation of department rules.

Cain spent more than two decades at the helm of Louisiana's largest prison before Vannoy took his place. An audit report released the following year found Cain had engaged in a series of unethical practices stemming from his position as warden, including using correctional employees to renovate his private home while on the clock.

Cain was not charged with any crime.

Vannoy, who has worked for DOC for decades, was transferred to Angola's top job from Dixon Correctional Institute, where he served as warden.


Email Lea Skene at lskene@theadvocate.com.