JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Today, Hinds County Attorney Gerald Mumford held a press conference to say he and his office should be a part of the investigation into the girl’s welfare because of a state statute.
Mumford says he’s serious about whether the victim is currently safe, and whether she had been abused in other situations.
“We intend to use subpoenas to the Jackson Police Department, we intend to see that file, we intend to download phones to find out who had contact with this minor, with this officer, whether these images were sent to other people," Mumford said. "Those are the kind of matters we want to find out.”
Under state statute, Mumford says his court has jurisdiction over abused and neglected minors.
The county attorney said he learned about the case from social media, and that he was not notified through the usual means. If there were others involved in the case who had knowledge of the situation, Mumford says he’ll see to it that those people are prosecuted.
"Part of our investigation is to find out what, when, how. When did this start, who was a part of it? If there were other adults who were in contact with this minor in an appropriate manner, they’ll be brought to justice. That’s our duty here as youth court prosecutors and county attorneys. "
Mumford said while he didn’t know if anyone had alerted Child Protective Services, that under state statute, his office should be involved in any case involving a juvenile who has been abused or neglected.
But he may have a fight on his hands.
Attorney Lisa Ross, who represents the family of the victim, sent us a statement in answer to his press conference.
“On behalf of my client, we satisfied our duty to report by informing the Jackson Police Department Police Chief James Davis Saturday that my client had been sexually assaulted over a period of months by a Jackson Police Department officer,” Ross said.
Ross said that when she received Mumford’s request for confidential information about her client, she wrote to Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services Commissioner Jess Dickinson and told him she was not going to turn over the information to the Hinds County Prosecutor’s Office.
“I subsequently spoke to Commissioner Dickinson, who assured me that this was a criminal matter and that the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services will not be getting involved. Consequently, the statute Mr. Mumford referenced in his letter to me imposes no duty on me or my client to provide him with any confidential information," Ross wrote. “This matter was properly reported to James Davis, the police chief of the Jackson Police Department. Since Mr. Mumford is the county prosecutor, he can request any information he believes his office is entitled to receive from the Jackson Police Department.”