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BCVFD reinstates sex offender

A local volunteer firefighter who was suspended for soliciting minors over the Internet was reinstated Monday.

Lincoln County Fire Coordinator Clifford Galey confirmed that convicted sex offender Brad Mercier was voted back into the Bogue Chitto Volunteer Fire Department. Galey said there is nothing illegal about a registered sex offender working as a public servant.

Lincoln County officials said they are consulting with the county attorney on what, if anything, can or will be done about Mercier’s reinstatement. Since there is no law against sex offenders being public servants, and further that it is a volunteer fire department, what the board could or should do falls in a gray area.

“We’re going to have to talk about this,” Lincoln County Board of Supervisors President Eddie Brown said.

The Bogue Chitto VFD is located in District 3. Nolan Williamson, supervisor of District 3, said he doesn’t know how it’s going to play out since they do not have direct authority over the department, but that they are in talks with the county attorney to address it.

Mercier was convicted in March 2014 of two counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile, after soliciting a Kenner, Louisiana, detective who was posing as an underage girl in a chat room. According to a Louisiana newspaper, Mercier was charged in an undercover operation with “computer-aided solicitation for sexual purposes” and “pornography involving juveniles.”

The Clarion-Ledger cited “various members of the community and the fire service” as being upset about Mercier’s reinstatement, but the newspaper didn’t name those individuals. Their concern was the location of the fire department near a school.

Mercier’s address in Bogue Chitto is listed as 2812 Hwy. 51 SE, according to the Mississippi Sex Offender Registry.