Thursday, October 8, 2009
A 23-year veteran deputy of the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department was in custody Wednesday, accused of having sex with a minor who often baby-sat his adolescent son at the deputy’s Orange Grove home, Harrison County Sheriff Melvin Brisolara said.
The sheriff said 48-year-old Mike Chauvin, who’s been serving as a school resource deputy at North Woolmarket Elementary School for the past eight years, initially was suspended with pay Monday night as soon as the parents of the victim, now 17, came in to report their suspicions about Chauvin possibly engaging in sex acts with their daughter.
Brisolara said the Sheriff’s Department started conducting an internal investigation, but quickly realized that the case was turning criminal and turned over their findings to the Gulfport Police Department because the crime allegedly occurred in their jurisdiction at Chauvin’s home. Gulfport police made the arrest Wednesday, charging Chauvin with one count of sexual battery.
The investigation is continuing to determine if other charges would be filed, such as an enhanced charge of sexual battery while in a position of trust or authority. The maximum penalty for sexual battery is 20 years in prison.
The sheriff said Chauvin apparently began a sexual relationship with the girl sometime after she started baby-sitting for him in the past two years. “She was younger (than 17) when this happened,” Brisolara said.
On Wednesday, Harrison County sheriff’s investigators were continuing to work with Gulfport investigators to determine if additional charges will follow.
Brisolara said he hadn’t spoken to Chauvin since the investigation started, adding “I have no intention of talking to him.”
Brisolara was working at the Sheriff’s Department when Chauvin, whom he described as a quiet man, joined the force, first serving as a reserve officer before going full-time and working over the years in patrols and community relations before taking over as a school resource officer. Brisolara said the complaint this week was the first the Sheriff’s Department has received against him during his tenure.
Since Brisolara started serving his first term in office, he said he’s had to get rid of other sheriff’s deputies for violating departmental policies and procedures, and “this is the first criminal case I’ve worked (involving a deputy) since I’ve been in office.”
The sheriff said Chauvin was terminated Wednesday. After his arrest, he was taken to the Harrison County jail, where Brisolara said Chauvin was being placed in isolation for safety reasons.
As for the investigation that led to the arrest of one of Brisolara’s own deputies, he said he had no regrets.