By Naomi Martin
A state grand jury indicted NOPD officer Desmond Pratt on Thursday, charging him with counts of aggravated incest, sexual battery and carnal knowledge of a juvenile. All three of the accusers were underage girls.
Pratt, 42, a former homicide detective, has been suspended without pay since April 17, when internal investigators arrested him on counts of forcible rape. He was most recently working in the NOPD's 6th District which patrols Central City and the Garden District.
"Mr. Pratt denies all allegations as he prepares for trial," said his attorney, Robert Jenkins.
The grand jury charged that Pratt committed aggravated incest of a juvenile between April 15 and 16.
Pratt was also charged with committing a sexual battery of a then-15-year-old girl between August 1, 2001 and December 30, 2001. The girl, a New Orleans public school student, reported on Dec. 4, 2001, that Pratt had "sexually violated" her, said NOPD spokeswoman Remi Braden.
At the time, child abuse detectives and internal investigators determined the case to be inconclusive, Braden said. After the April allegations, Special Victims Unit Sgt. Arnold Williams and Public Integrity Bureau Sgt. Darryl Watson reopened the case, gathering information that led to the grand jury's indictment, Braden said.
Pratt was additionally charged with one count of carnal knowledge of a juvenile. That accuser was 13 years old at the time she says the assault occurred, between Aug. 17, 1997 and Aug. 16, 1998.
After Pratt's arrest was reported, that accuser, who now lives in Texas, called the NOPD to report that Pratt had also abused her when she was a student at a public school that was not the same as the other accuser's, Braden said. The investigators traveled to Texas to interview the woman, Braden said.
Pratt's bond was set at $300,000 for the aggravated incest count, and $100,000 for the other two counts, for a total of $500,000, records show.
When he was arrested in April Pratt was released after posting a $50,000 bond on the condition that he would wear a monitoring device and avoid contact with the accuser.
Pratt started with the department in 1997 and was at one point a member of the Community Public Housing Force. As a homicide detective, he was deeply involved in the investigation into two murders tied to alleged Uptown drug kingpin Telly Hankton.
Pratt had requested protection for Hasan "Hockie" Williams after Williams, within hours of the crime, identified Hankton as the man who shot Jessie "TuTu" Reed on Terpsichore Street in June 2009. But Williams was shot shortly after attending Reed's funeral, with the same gun used to dispatch Reed.
Prosecutors said Hankton -- who had already been arrested in Reed's killing -- ordered the hit on Williams from the Orleans Parish jail.
Pratt also featured prominently in another high-profile murder case, that of 16-year-old Roderick Gordon, who was gunned down in the 1500 block of Conti Street in 2009.
In total, five men were accused of being involved in the shooting, although only one, 22-year-old Travis Burke, has been convicted. A few months ago, Burke got news that an unknown witness resurfaced and told the district attorney that Burke and his friend Jamal Clay, also charged with the crime and currently awaiting trial, were not the killers.
That witness claimed he saw three men, not five, shoot Gordon, and that none of them was either Burke nor Clay.
The witness claimed he had told Pratt what he'd seen six months after the killing, more than a year before Burke's trial, but was never called to testify at Burke's trial and that his defense attorney never even knew he existed.