The Terrebonne Parish Council passed new oversight controls for the parish recreation department this week, on the heels of a WWL-TV investigation that found an accused sex trafficker had been allowed to coach a girls basketball team.
The council unanimously passed the resolution in coordination with Parish President Gordon Dove in a stated effort to “increase safety and confidence” in Terrebonne Parish Recreation, or TPR.
WWL-TV conducted an investigation and showed parish officials photo and video evidence that they had allowed Derrian Williams, who had been banned from coaching after his February 2017 arrest on charges of child sex trafficking and carnal knowledge of a juvenile, to keep coaching a 7- and 8-year-old TPR all-star team.
The station also found TPR Director Sterling Washington was with Williams when the all-star team was selected in January and approved $538 in hotel charges in Williams’ name at a basketball tournament in Slidell in March.
WWL-TV reported the story Monday and Washington resigned as director Tuesday.
Parish Manager Mike Toups announced the resolution Friday and thanked WWL-TV “for bringing the situation to our attention.”
The resolution calls on the parish risk manager and others to set up new personnel management systems. It requires new vetting procedures and identification badges for all employees and volunteers involved in youth athletics.
It also orders the creation of a confidential reporting system for parents and concerned citizens to make complaints about the parish’s youth athletics programs.
Toups said the parish has hired an interim TPR director and established a five-person panel to select a new permanent director. He also said Williams’ father, longtime volunteer coach Ryan “Mack” Williams, is being punished for not being truthful about his son’s participation.
“I sent Mr. Ryan Williams a letter advising him that he was banned from all TPR activities as a volunteer coach for a year; that his son, Derrian Williams, was indefinitely banned; and asked for reimbursement for the Slidell hotel room expenses,” Toups said Friday.