Grand jury: felony theft, malfeasance in office


Saturday’s headline of the Shreveport Times, records that one of Louisiana’s leading and longest serving educators was indicted on four felony counts. This news probably signals the end of Walter Lee’s career. However, the timeline and speed at which the investigation and indictments were processed cast further doubt on ethics and enforcement in the state best known for the “gold standard” record of unethical public officials.

Desoto Parish District Attorney Richard Johnson noted the criminal accusations against Lee are “particularly disturbing because they concern public corruption.”

“Public officials are required to carry out their duties in a way that encourages the support and confidence of the community,” he said. “That was not done here. We must take these acts seriously because to do otherwise would undermine the public’s trust.”

Louisiana has such a poor record for prosecuting and convicting public officials who use their office in so many inappropriate ways that our colorful history may be best know for our public crooks rather than destinations. Forever hopeful that good will triumph over greed, citizens have an opportunity to send a message that officials must be held accountable. Make 2014 the year that you, the responsible citizen, report criminal conduct and not allow our state to be abused by those who should set a better example.