ST. BERNARD, LOUISIANA – A St. Bernard Parish deputy has been arrested for allegedly raping a Chalmette woman while he was off-duty and giving her a ride home to the parish from a Mardi Gras event, said Sheriff Jack Stephens.
Deputy Thomas Spicuzza, 37, surrendered himself to deputies Wednesday after a judge signed a warrant for his arrest. Bond has been set at $50,000.
Spicuzza, a 10-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office, drove the 28-year-old Chalmette woman home from a Mardi Gras event in New Orleans because she wanted to leave early, according to the alleged victim’s report. Spicuzza hadn’t attended the party with the woman, but knew her and her fiance, Stephens said.
The woman, who told investigators she was on prescription medicine for anxiety and depression, said she lost consciousness and couldn’t remember the ride back to her home in St. Bernard with Spicuzza. She said she remembers waking up in a bed with Spicuzza and the two having sex, and then later, Spicuzza bringing her home.
Spicuzza maintains his innocence, saying the act was consensual.
Stephens said there’s a zero-tolerance police for officers who are arrested.
“For better or worse law enforcement officials should be and are held to a higher standard than civilians,” Stephens said. “We know the law, it’s our job to protect people and prevent things like this from happening, so the allegation is disturbing, and it’s unsettling to the whole department.”
Spicuzza has been on administrative leave since March 12, when the woman reported the alleged rape to the police. The incident in question happened the week before, Stephens said, and the woman said she didn’t tell her fiance about the alleged incident for several days.