By: Emmanuel wise Jipoh
The Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency (LDEA) says it has suspended from duty its Maryland County Commander Joseph Targeddine following allegations of sexual assault brought against him.
Agent Targeddine was alleged to have sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl in Harper, Maryland County, according to report filed by the girl’s parents who reported the incident on February 21, 2023, to the Liberia National Police’s Women and Children Protection Unit in the County.
LDEA Head of Communication & Public Affairs, Michael W. Jipply, disclosed this to journalists on Monday at the LDEA headquarters, in Fiamah, Sinkor, on the sideline at the start of a three-day Transparency and Accountability Training Workshop for State Law Enforcement officers.
He continued that an LNP report from the county through the Police’s Women and Children Division described the allegation as Statutory rape and that it is in violation of section 14.70C of the panel code he Liberian Law.
Agent Trageddine suspension is pending further investigation into the allegation, Jipply explained.
The police report furthered that the disgraced LDEA Commander was reportedly seen several times around the teenager and may have slightly penetrated her private part as many times before the situation was reported.
“We observed many times that the LDEA Commander was being seen around our daughter. We warned him on different occasions to stop but he refused”, the father said adding, “Sometime early February 2023, our daughter started showing signs of weakness. My wife advised we take her for medical check-up at J.J Dossen Hospital.
After the medical examination, we found out that our daughter is sexually active. Based upon the medical report we decided questioning our daughter and that was how she named the LDEA Commander “Joseph Targeddine” as the one that got her sexually active,” he said.
The LDEA Communication Director who confirmed the incident expressed disappointment and pointed out that the Commander who had been suspended with immediate effect will remain so pending the outcome of the investigation.
When the alleged perpetrator was contacted via his mobile phone about the allegation, he confirmed the allegation but denied his involvement. He stated that he is willing to face the full weight of the law when found guilty.
“I’m currently in Grand Gedeh County to bury my deceased mother. I have received calls from my bosses concerning the allegation and to also turn over all government belongings including uniforms and arms in order to undergo the investigation. But upon my return to the county in a week’s time, I will be available for investigation. Whatsoever the outcome maybe, I’m not excluded from the Law, I will face the punishment,” he said.
Meanwhile, the three-day Transparency and Accountability Training Workshop for State Law Enforcement officers are being organized by LDEA in partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s premier professional exchange program, tagged; the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP).
According to Jipply, the training workshop will focus on enhancing the capacity buildings of law enforcement officers, to ensure the promotion of anti-corruption as well as creating the enabling environment of integrity and accountability at various workplaces.
Participants at the ongoing workshop, which includes officers of the Professional Standard Division and personal/human resource division of the Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency (LDEA), the Liberia National Police (LNP), the Arm Forces of Liberia (AFL), and the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS).
Other agencies are the Liberia National Fire Service (LNFS), the Liberia Seaport Police (LSP), and officers of the Bureau of Corrections and Rehabilitation (BCR) and the Forestry Development Authority (FDA).