BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The "Sons of Guns" TV star who was the subject of a derogatory float in this year's Spanish Town parade is talking about it for the first time. Stephanie Ford says she's appalled that three high-ranking off-duty Baton Rouge cops were part of a float that poked fun at allegations she was molested by her father.
Ford says she still has not gotten used to seeing her face and hearing her name on television. The former "Sons of Guns" reality TV star captured national attention recently when she went on the Dr. Phil show to talk about allegations that her father, Will Hayden, sexually abused her.
Ford says after her appearance, she was hit with a wave of negative responses that forced her into hiding.
"I didn't leave my house for months. I finally got to where I was coming here, working again, going shopping for myself again, doing normal things," said Ford.
She went to work for her father-in-law at Ford's Firearms. She says the dust was just starting to settle, "then the parade happened," she said.
A krewe in the Spanish Town parade built a float that made fun of the allegations that her dad molested her. The float included a photo of her on the side and derogatory statements about her.
She was not at the parade, but she says her friend showed her pictures of the float that she says were posted ot Facebook by Baton Rouge Police Sergeant Byron Fontenot.
"He was actually bragging about it on his page that it was his float," said Ford.
A spokesman for the Baton Rouge Police Department, Don Coppola, identified three officers who were allegedly either on the float or helping to pull it. All three are Sergeants with BRPD. They have been identified as Douglas Atkins, Byron Fontenot, and Donald Young.
Young now works in Internal Affairs, but used to work in the department's sex crimes division.
When Ford learned that piece of information, she said, "Wow! That's really disturbing. I mean, you work in that, and you know already how hard it is for people to talk about that."
Police Chief Carl Dabadie acknowledged the officers were involved, but said the extent of their involvement has yet to be determined. He released a statement that reads, "the struggle a sexual assault victim endures is a very serious matter and is not something that should be taken lightly or used in a satirical manner."
Ford has not filed a complaint with the police department, but she says she does plan to take legal action, even it if means dragging her name back into the spotlight.
"It's a major step back for victims of sexual abuse," said Ford. "There are so many girls out there who have been hurt and they are terrified to come forward."
Ford said their stories taught her that her personal fight is much bigger than she had imagined. That is why she says she cannot just let this one go.
"I'm doing this because it was really wrong, and because if it's okay this time, they'll think it's okay again," she stated.
Chief Carl Dabadie stopped by the WAFB studio and had to say this regarding the investigation"
"There are policy violations that may have occurred. That is part of the investigation. If there are any violations proven from that point then we will handle that accordingly. That could range from a letter of reprimand to a suspension. Why are they not on leave? We didn't feel like this investigation warranted it. There are certain policy perimeters when they are involved in such things as officer involved shootings and so forth that it is mandatory that they are put on leave, but according to our policy this is not one of those incidences where we automatically put them on leave."
The Internal Affairs investigation should wrap up in 60 days.
Ford's father, Will Hayden, faces multiple sex assault charges in East Baton Rouge and Livingston Parishes. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.