Gordon Dove

The presence of a former coach facing unresolved criminal charges including sex trafficking at Terrebonne Parish Parks and Recreation events involving children has led to new security protocols.

No inappropriate actions or words were reported in connection with

Derrian Williams was arrested in February in connection with an allegation from a Mississippi teen that he had sexual relations with her and that she was expected to render sexual services to his “clients,” according to Terrebonne Parish Sheriff Jerry Larpenter. Williams was fired from a part-time basketball coaching job at Vandebilt High after his arrest. But he was later observed at Biddy Basketball activities.

Williams was not authorized to be at the events. Former TPR Director Sterling Washington later resigned after proof surfaced that he had knowledge of Williams’ presence.

“For many years, the Terrebonne Parish Recreation Department along with Recreation Districts 2-3 & 11, have been in need of major reform,” Dove said last week. Investigations by Terrebonne CFO Candace Maulden as well as the accounting firm of Bourgeois Bennett, ordered by Dove, are ongoing.

Dove took care to differentiate the roles of the various recreation districts and the government’s own recreation department.

“The eleven recreation districts have their own millages for funding, which they use to construct, maintain and operate the different recreation facilities and parks. Terrebonne Parish Government does not have control of these monies,” Dove said, asking that people not let the current problems with TPR and issues with Recreation Districts 2-3 and 11 reflect on the other recreation boards.

“Please continue to send information to my office or to your council person so we can correct the flaws in our recreation system that should have been addressed many years ago,” Dove said. “My administration and the Terrebonne Parish Council will correct these problems.”

Credentialing changes include a requirement that all TPR employees 18 and over receive a background check. Those approved will receive a blue credential that will identify them as qualified and verified. The colors will change for year to year. Dove said the identification cards will be a way for parents and others to know whether an individual is authorized to be with and around children and to do work on the TPR or related property.

“We are going to make sure we have it up to date,” Dove said. “We want to make sure it is being done correctly. We are trying to correct 20 or 30 years of the same old problems. There are still investigations going on. We are going to police the badges but if a parent sees someone and they don’t have a tag on or they don’t recognize the guy, there should be a communications number to call. The red flag is up and 2018 on it.”

A shortcoming that became visible during the administration’s deep look at recreation was the failure of TPR to instruct coaches in the approved state protocol as relates to concussions, a health risk to which football players are vulnerable. Dove said Terrebonne General Medical Center is assisting with the concussion protocol and other health-related aspects of the programs.

All supervisors will be trained in CPR and defibrillator use.

With the exit of Washington, Planning and Zoning Director Chris Pulaski is serving as interim Recreation Director, with an understanding that a permanent director will be named. School Board member Greg Harding was named as field superintendent. Parish Human Resources Director Dana Ortego and Harding will assist Pulaski. Chris Singleton, who served as program coordinator for Houma’s east side, will serve as assistant field superintendent.

The search committee will also include a representative from Dove’s parish-wide recreation board.

A manual will be developed, Dove said, that will include instructions for all manner of supervisors whose work relates to recreation.

Senior Staff Writer John DeSantis is a veteran journalist and author who grew up in New York City, but has spent most of his career in the Bayou Region. A specialist in criminal justice, he enjoys boating and historical research.

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