NEWS

Gonzales Police arrest Prairieville woman in connection with child rape investigation

Staff Report

Gonzales Police Department officers arrested Heather Norwood French, an Ascension Parish Schools employee, for accessory after the fact to first degree rape and for failure to report the commission of a crime in connection with an ongoing investigation.

French, 34, was arrested about 5 p.m. Feb. 24 at her residence in Prairieville, without incident, and with the assistance of the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office.

French's arrest arose from an ongoing investigation into 40-year-old Douglas DeCuir, who has been arrested in Ascension Parish on charges of child rape, child pornography, and indecent behavior with juveniles. The Prairieville man was booked into the Ascension Parish Jail near Donaldsonville on Sept. 22, 2021, according to jail records.

The Galvez Middle School administration released a statement to inform parents and the community French, a paraprofessional, had been arrested.

"It is part of a Gonzales Police Department investigation that did not originate at our school. The employee is not on campus today, and we will take appropriate action in working with law enforcement on their investigation," a spokesperson stated.

"We understand this causes concerns from our parents and community, and we want you to know that the safety and security of our students are of the utmost importance. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have specific concerns about your child, but please be aware that we are limited in what we know and can share as it is a law enforcement investigation."

According to Ascension Parish Schools' website, French was a 2020-2021 support person of the year.