A new book investigating the murders of eight Louisiana sex workers raises questions about a United States congressman’s alleged ties to a local prostitution hub.
In the book, Murder in the Bayou — which will be released by Simon & Schuster’s Scribner imprint next week — investigative journalist Ethan Brown cites three anonymous sources claiming Republican Rep. Charles Boustany was a “client” of some of the murdered sex workers known as the “Jeff Davis 8.” The book also reveals that the motel where some of the victims did their sex work was run by Martin Guillory, a field representative for Boustany who goes by the nickname “Big G.”
Boustany, who is now running for U.S. Senate in Louisiana, denied the allegations to the author through a spokesman. Guillory, who ran the Boudreaux Inn from the late 1990s through the end of 2004, told the author he’d met “one or two” of the sex workers, as well as Frankie Richard, their pimp. But Guillory said he was unaware of any criminal activity taking place at the motel.
Between 2005 and 2009, the bodies of eight women were discovered in the canals and swamps surrounding the small town of Jennings in Louisiana’s Jefferson Davis Parish. The victims, whose murders remain unsolved, became known in the national media as the “Jeff Davis 8.”
Brown, who has spent more than five years investigating the case, writes in Murder in the Bayou that Boustany’s name first came up in his reporting during a 2012 interview with Richard, the pimp who was briefly charged with one victim’s murder. (The charges were later dropped.)
The author then cites three independent sources claiming that some of the slain sex workers counted Boustany as a customer. One source is described in the book as a “former Jennings sex worker” who knew the Jeff Davis 8; another is described as a “friend” of some of the victims.
The third source is a witness who in 2012 told a law enforcement taskforce investigating the murders that Boustany had engaged in sexual activity with at least one victim:
I will call this witness Boustany Witness A. Taskforce investigators took Boustany Witness A seriously enough to interview her over several days in October of 2012. Boustany Witness A kept meticulous logs of her visits with the Taskforce, and according to these logs, she was interrogated by the upper echelon of the Taskforce … In an August 2015 meeting at the FBI’s Lake Charles office, I asked Agent Reed about his meeting with Boustany Witness A, and he refused to confirm or deny that such a meeting occurred. Agent Reed also refused to confirm or deny that the feds have received information that Boustany patronized any of the Jeff Davis 8.
Brown stresses in the book that “there is no evidence that either Congressman Boustany or Big G had any involvement with the murders of the Jeff Davis 8.”
In a statement provided to the author, Boustany’s then-spokesman Jack Pandol said, “Dr. Boustany had no knowledge of Martin Guillory’s prior involvement at the establishment you mentioned. After double checking our office’s records, Dr. Boustany has never had any contact with any of the eight victims you mentioned. Obviously this case is a tragedy and Dr. Boustany is saddened something like this could happen in southwest Louisiana.”
Reached Wednesday by BuzzFeed News, Boustany spokesman Jordan Gleason said, “We stand by the statement provided to Mr. Brown. These are outrageous lies and Dr. Boustany has no knowledge of this whatsoever.”
Boustany’s discovery of Guillory’s connection to the Boudreaux Inn has apparently not put an end to their professional relationship. According to FEC documents, Guillory has received payment from Boustany’s current Senate campaign.
In Murder in the Bayou, Brown details police reports showing that “Frankie Richard and several of the slain workers were constantly involved in incidents resulting in police presence at the Boudreaux Inn” during Guillory’s proprietorship. One of the sex workers was accused of stealing from an apparent John at the motel; another was stabbed in the head during an altercation there.
“Big G” Guillory himself shows up in a July 22, 2003, incident report in which the Sheriff’s Office was called to the motel because he had “pulled a black pistal [sic] on” the complainant during an argument. Guillory’s handgun was confiscated and placed in evidence, and he received a citation for aggravated assault.
Guillory did not respond to repeated requests from comment from BuzzFeed News. But he told the book’s author that he didn’t know any of the Jeff Davis 8 were engaging in prostitution at the Boudreaux Inn:
When I asked Big G if Congressman Boustany had engaged in relationships of any nature with the women of the Jeff Davis 8, he replied, “Well, of course not, that I know of. Why would that man deal with any of the women at the Boudreaux Inn?” Big G then angrily concluded the call, told me to never call him back, and warned, “I assure you when you come out with all of these allegations we’re gonna file suit against you.”
McKay Coppins is a senior writer for the BuzzFeed News politics team, and the author of The Wilderness, about the battle over the future of the Republican Party.
Contact McKay Coppins at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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