A Port Barre, La. police officer faces a third-degree rape charge after a woman he stopped for speeding said he coerced her into having sex in exchange for leniency.


Darwin Fontenot, 21, of Port Barre, admitted to having sex with the woman, according to a police department release describing the March incident. Deputies charged Fontenot with malfeasance and third-degree rape, defined as sexual activity between an authority figure and someone in custody.


“The public holds law enforcement to a high standard and so do I," Port Barre Police Chief Deon Boudreaux said in a statement. "Whether the sexual interaction was consensual or not doesn’t justify it. I will not tolerate such unprofessional behavior from our police officers."


Fontenot was released Saturday on bond. Boudreaux said he placed the officer on "administrative leave until termination."


Port Barre Police Chief Deon R. Boudreaux shows off one of the new combination body cameras and police radios that have been issued to all his officers.


The chief said he received a report on April 27 from the St. Bernard Sheriff's Office about a complaint from a Chalmette woman who accused Fontenot of forcing her to have sex after stopping her on U.S. 90 for speeding on March 10.


St. Landry Parish Sheriff Bobby Guidroz said Boudreaux asked his office to conduct the investigation. He referred all questions to Boudreaux.


The woman had other violations, according to the Port Barre police department, and during the stop Fontenot offered her leniency in exchange for sex, police said. The woman said she and Fontenot "engaged in sexual activity," according to the release.


Boudreaux said he learned Friday from the sheriff's office that "during an investigative interview, Officer Fontenot admitted to engaging in sexual activity with the complainant."


The woman had other violations, according to the Port Barre police department, and during the stop Fontenot offered her leniency in exchange for sex, police said. The woman said she and Fontenot "engaged in sexual activity," according to the release.


Boudreaux said he learned Friday from the sheriff's office that "during an investigative interview, Officer Fontenot admitted to engaging in sexual activity with the complainant."


"When I spoke to Fontenot this morning, he admitted he did engage in sexual activity with the complainant but stated the two met up after he was off duty," Boudreaux said in an email on Saturday. "Even if he was off duty, it doesn't make it right. An officer, nor any public servant, should engage in that type of activity of exchanging sexual favors for leniency."


Fontenot was a St. Landry corrections officer prior to working for Port Barre, according to Boudreaux's office. He’s been with the Port Barre department about a year and a half and graduated the police academy in November 2019.


"It's a sad day when we have to arrest one of our own, but wrong is wrong," Boudreaux said. "Police officers are trusted with great power and responsibility to do what is right and to be the wedge between right and wrong. That trust is tarnished when officers are unprofessional.”