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INVESTIGATIVE UNIT: Victim of harassment by Gonzales Police officer says department discipline is not enough

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GONZALES - A person who was sent inappropriate text messages by a Gonzales police officer says that the department's discipline is not sufficient. 

The WBRZ Investigative Unit spoke with Kevin Dunbar, one of the people who received hostile and profane messages from officer Duane Carpenter.

"I kind of knew it was just going to be a slap on the wrist," Dunbar said. 

Carpenter was issued a misdemeanor summons in Dec. 2023 and pleaded guilty to three counts of improper telephone communication in May. Documents from the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office detail Carpenter's use of spoof phone numbers and phony emails to send messages anonymously. Paperwork shows Carpenter sent anonymous messages to at least five people.

Since his guilty plea, Carpenter has returned to work at the Gonzales Police Department after mandatory training. 

Gonzales Police Chief Sherman Jackson was not available for an interview, but the department sent the following statement:

After an internal investigation, Officer Carpenter was found to have violated policy and a misdemeanor state law, and was disciplined. Once he completed discipline he was ordered back to duty. The courts have determined measures in response to Carpenter’s misdemeanor charges that are separate from departmental discipline. After this incident, Chief Jackson implemented and held a mandatory training regarding stress management and self-care for the entire department.

Dunbar said the fact that Carpenter is still at work is concerning and he does not believe that stress management training is enough to fix the issue.

"They might think it may help, I don't," he said.

Dunbar said he was harassed for more than two years. The messages, laced with expletives, revealed details about Dunbar's life that he said most people would not know. 

"I got that text and I'm like this has to be someone that knows me, like to know all of these things about me," Dunbar said. 

By using a private investigator, Dunbar was able to track the IP address used to Carpenter's home. He says that the two were friends at the time. 

"I don't tell my business to many people unless we're close friends, and you know he was someone I thought was a close friend of mine," he said. 

Even though the two were acquaintances, Dunbar says that the information in the anonymous messages went beyond common knowledge. 

"You have my address. You have my phone number. You have the VIN number to my vehicle to know what I drive."

Dunbar says he's afraid that Carpenter will keep harassing others due to the light punishment. 

"They're just going to do the same thing over, and over, and over again."

WBRZ attempted to reach Carpenter but we could not get in contact. 


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