By Ryan Moore
A former Lamar County Sheriff's deputy and Hattiesburg police lieutenant has been charged with one count of forcible rape.
Averal "Junior" Burnett, 47, appeared before Justice Court Judge Charles Greer for a bond hearing Tuesday morning in Lamar County. He was denied bond, as requested by the state, due to the consideration of alleged threats to law enforcement officers and victims along with being considered a flight risk.
During the hearing, Burnett stated, "I have not threatened anyone, I have sweat and bled with them (law enforcement officers present) and would never do anything to hurt anyone." He also added, "The only thing I ever questioned was the chain of evidence."
Burnett was taken into custody Sunday evening by Mississippi Highway Patrol officers and transported to the Pearl River County Jail where he was housed.
Burnett served the majority of his 22 years in law enforcement with the Hattiesburg Police Department and officially retired from the Lamar County Sheriff's department on May 16, 2014.
"When we became aware of the allegations, it was reported to us that it had allegedly happened in Lamar County. When we realized it involved a former employee, we instantly called the Mississippi Bureau of Investigations to handle the case," said Lamar County Sheriff Dany Rigel.
Rigel added that Burnett worked for their department less than a year before he had his time in with the state to retire from law enforcement.
The investigation is still ongoing, and is being handled by the Mississippi Bureau of investigations.