August 13, 2020

Article: The Cop, the Child, and a Cry for Help

Article: The Cop, the Child, and a Cry for Help

Warning: this article includes detailed discussions of alleged non-consensual sex acts and may not be suitable for all readers.

Leon Boudreaux, 5’6”, with a physique created by mixed martial arts, has short-cropped black hair and a thin beard.  Boudreaux was trained in combat, first in the US Army, then as a police officer serving on the Port Barre Police Department in Louisiana.  He was the training officer there.  Boudreaux was responsible for teaching junior officers tactics and procedures.  His twin brother, Deon, was the police chief of Port Barre.

According to his social media accounts, Leon Boudreaux owned and operated a mixed martial arts dojo, Kim Jutsu IMA, geared towards children, and two tactical training companies, Law Enforcement Integrated Defensive Tactics, and Integrated Combative Education. In 2017, the United States Martial Arts Hall of Fame honored Boudreaux as the “International Instructor of the Year.”

Boudreaux is also a defendant in both Louisiana and New Mexico for multiple allegations of child molestation and sexual misconduct.  His case is currently on the 8th Judicial Circuit docket.  Boudreaux is the defendant in a New Mexico case based on his alleged misconduct at the Quality Inn in Raton on February 4, 2019

On that evening in February 2019, the Raton Police Department received a call requesting a welfare check on Boudreaux’s 18-year-old daughter.  (Per Associated Press guidance regarding the privacy rights of sex crime victims, the alleged victim in this matter will not be identified by name.)  Raton Police Officers John M. Valdez and Nicolina Villani-Martinez took the call, arriving at the Quality Inn on Clayton Road at approximately 6:14 PM that evening.  Valdez and Villani-Martinez separated Boudreaux from his daughter.  The two officers then braced the father and daughter separately, so that they couldn’t compare answers.  Valdez was with Boudreaux in his hotel room.  Villani-Martinez took the daughter, who was barefoot, down to the lobby.

In the room, Boudreaux used his cell phone to allow his wife to hear the interactions between himself and the Raton Police.  He claimed he was in New Mexico with his daughter because she had fled from Louisiana to her sister’s Colorado residence. Boudreaux couldn’t - or wouldn’t - explain why she had fled.

Boudreaux said he was driving back to Louisiana with his daughter, that they were returning home.  Boudreaux also claimed his daughter had made false allegations against him in Louisiana for sexual abuse.  Boudreaux also said that the allegations were false, made by his daughter just for attention.

Villani-Martinez observed Boudreaux’s daughter; she felt that the daughter was anxious, under duress.  The daughter told Villani-Martinez that Boudreaux had been sexually assaulting her since she was 14 years old.  Then, the daughter stated that Boudreaux had forced her to have sex with him that very night.  She had saved his semen in toilet paper that she had used to clean herself up afterwards.

While Villani-Martinez talked with the daughter, Valdez advised Boudreaux that the Raton Police responded to a welfare check request.  Valdez told Boudreaux to stay in the hotel room. Then, Valdez went to hear what the daughter had said to Officer Villani-Martinez.  Boudreaux did not remain in the hotel room, though.  He followed Valdez out to the lobby.

Villani-Martinez and Valdez conferred.  Villani-Martinez said she had learned that the daughter wanted to leave, to get away from her father.  Villani-Martinez had placed the daughter in her patrol unit for the daughter’s safety.  Villani-Martinez also said that the daughter alleged that Boudreaux had raped her in the hotel room there in Raton.

Boudreaux arrived in the lobby.  Villani-Martinez told Boudreaux that she wanted to get the daughter some shoes so the daughter could leave the area.  When Villani-Martinez went to get shoes, Boudreaux followed her.  Valdez kept with Boudreaux.  The father had gotten on his cell phone again, trying to manage the situation.

Boudreaux continued talking on his cell phone outside of the motel. At the same time, Villani-Martinez conferred with Raton Police Captain James Valdez via cell phone.  Boudreaux probed Officer John Valdez regarding what was going on. The officer explained that Raton Police was called on the scene for a welfare check.  Boudreaux then told the person he was speaking to on the phone that he was about to be arrested.  Boudreaux returned to his hotel room, followed by Officer Valdez.  As they returned from the hotel room, Villani-Martinez advised Boudreaux she was going to place him in investigative detention.  Boudreaux was bulky.  Villani-Martinez and Valdez used two sets of handcuffs to secure Boudreaux’s hands behind his back before Valdez frisked Boudreaux and took him to the Raton Police Station.

At roughly 1900 MST (7:00 PM Mountain Time), Valdez sat down with Boudreaux in the interview room, where Boudreaux was talking on his cell phone.  Valdez told Boudreaux to get off his phone.  Valdez told Boudreaux he was not under arrest - at that point, anyway - and then read Boudreaux his Miranda Warning.  Boudreaux initialed his Miranda Waiver, and they began to talk.

Valdez told Boudreaux that his daughter alleged Boudreaux had raped her, that she had saved semen from the rape, and that he wanted a sample of Boudreaux’s DNA.  Boudreaux responded by claiming the allegations were unfounded, and that his other daughter also had once alleged he raped her.  Boudreaux asserted that his daughter believed he was too strict at home.  Boudreaux said he was strict because he found out his daughter was using drugs and engaged in sexual activity while a minor.  Boudreaux said he found mixed martial arts (commonly referred to as MMA) as a way to get close to his daughter.  Boudreaux said he was his daughter’s MMA coach.

Valdez continued to question Boudreaux.  Boudreaux volunteered that he had been accused of raping his daughter since she was 14.  Boudreaux stated he learned of an investigation into the allegations of rape against him from his twin brother, Deon, the Port Barre Police Chief.  Boudreaux said he was investigated, by the same police department on which he had served, in fact.  Boudreaux said his daughter changed her story when at the police station where he and his brother worked.  At the police station, Boudreaux said, his daughter admitted her accusations were made-up.

Valdez continued to question Boudreaux regarding the odd flaws in his story.  Why did Boudreaux get a hotel room with only one bed?  Boudreaux told Valdez he was not sure if his daughter was returning to Louisiana with him when he got the room.  Valdez pressed further on the subject.  Boudreaux said he did not get the hotel room until after he picked up his daughter in Colorado.  Boudreaux had contradicted his earlier statement regarding the hotel bed.

Since his first story hadn’t worked, Boudreaux said during the police interrogation that he had decided to get some rest, as he had not gotten any while driving to pick up his daughter.  Boudreaux could not say, though, when he had decided to rest.  Boudreaux said he had taken a “sleep aid pill” prior to falling asleep.  During the interrogation, Boudreaux said he could not identify the sleep aid pill.

Boudreaux turned to victim blaming.  He said he woke up to find his daughter having sex with him.  Boudreaux said that his daughter told him it was okay, that she wanted it.  Boudreaux told Valdez he ejaculated on his daughter, not inside of her.  After that, Boudreaux advised his daughter that they would discuss the matter further after getting some food.

Then, they went to Denny’s.

While Valdez interrogated Boudreaux, Villani-Martinez continued her interview of the daughter.  The daughter provided her with a different story than Boudreaux.  The daughter claimed Boudreaux said he was upset he could not sleep and felt like he was going to have a heart attack if he could not relieve his stress.  Boudreaux then told her he needed to get hand lotion from the bathroom.  When he went to the bathroom, the daughter said, she knew what was coming: her father was going to initiate sex with her.

The daughter said she began to undress.  According to the daughter, Boudreaux emerged from the bathroom in time to remove her underwear.  The daughter said she did not feel she could refuse her father’s advances; Boudreaux, she said, had weapons either on him or in the room.

After Boudreaux admitted to Valdez that he had sex with his daughter, Boudreaux said he felt his daughter took advantage of him.  Valdez took a DNA sample from Boudreaux, then Villani-Martinez arrested Boudreaux.

Boudreaux ended up at the Vigil-Maldonado Detention Center, the Colfax County jail.  The daughter received treatment and a sexual assault forensics examination.  The Raton Police returned to the Quality Inn with Boudreaux’s consent to search the room.  There, along with additional bodily fluids, they found a .357 Smith & Wesson revolver loaded with hollow-point bullets.  They also found a knife with a six-inch blade.

Boudreaux’s case in New Mexico has been on the docket since March 6, 2019.  Beginning in April 2019, the prosecution and defense went through the discovery phase of the case, identifying potential witnesses, physical evidence, and alibis.  In December 2019, Boudreaux’s attorney, Ray Floersheim (also the Raton City Attorney), made a motion to be relieved as defense counsel.  On January 7, 2020, Lisa Torraco, an attorney from Albuquerque, entered as Boudreaux’s new counsel.

Then the Coronavirus hit.

While the case has not yet gone to trial, Boudreaux’s new defense attorney has filed a motion to suppress alleged past bad acts, arguing that the allegations against Boudreaux in Louisiana were too prejudicial to be referenced in Boudreaux’s New Mexico trial.  Often past bad acts are used in criminal trials; the practice has long been a part of the Federal Rules of Evidence, and, in Huddleston v. United States, 485 US 681 (1988), the US Supreme Court affirmed that this evidence can be used.  It remains to be seen how the Eighth Judicial Circuit will address the defense’s motion to suppress.  Since the motion to suppress was filed, it appears that Judge Kennelly has been reassigned from the case.  No new date for Boudreaux’s trial has been set.  Boudreaux, according to information provided to the World Journal by the Lafayette Advertiser, as part of a joint investigation, has returned to Louisiana.  The daughter is currently residing in another state.  It remains to be seen what the outcome will be in this case.