I-TEAM: Southern University employee arrested, on leave following rape allegations

Anthony Varnado is sitting behind bars in the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison after being arrested last month on a third-degree rape charge.
Published: Jul. 6, 2023 at 2:43 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Anthony Varnado is sitting behind bars in the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison after being arrested last month on a third-degree rape charge. Varnado was arrested on June 20, 2023 according to booking information obtained by the WAFB I-TEAM. That arrest stems from an incident that allegedly happened in May 2023.

WAFB normally does not identify victims of rape but Danielle Jones wanted to be identified and claims Varnado works as a custodian at Southern University. The woman alleges Varnado took her to a dorm on campus where he then took advantage of her.

“I was drugged and raped and sent home in an Uber,” said Jones. “It hurt me that he would even do something like that to me.”

Two days later, the woman says she went to the hospital to be checked out. She says three officers from the Southern University Police Department visited her and obtained a statement from her about what happened. Jones said she will never forget what happened to her that night.

“I kind of remember faintly me pushing him off of me and him coming from under the covers and I remember looking and raising up and looking around and realizing that I’m not at my home where I should have been,” Jones added.

Jones reached out to WAFB with questions about the case after she believed things were not being taken seriously enough. She had concerns about Varnado’s status with the university and whether a report was actually filed with SUPD.

A spokesperson with the university did confirm last month that there was an open investigation into Varnado but was unable to comment on specifics of that investigation.

Jones identifies as a lesbian and believes she was double violated. She says she has only known Varnado for a few months and that he was helping her with her production business. When he invited her over, she says she never thought things would end up the way they did.

“He violated me,” she said. “He knew very well we weren’t on that level and we weren’t going over there for that. I had no business waking up in his bed or, better yet, even knowing what his bedroom looked like.”

Jones says she has isolated herself since the alleged attack and that she’s been drowning in her emotions.

“This stutter that I have, I didn’t have this before so I’ve been going through PTSD and I just don’t sleep, or come out of my apartment. It’s a lot,” Jones added.

According to a campus directory listed on the Southern University website, there is an Anthony Wayne Varnado listed as a Maintenance Repairer with Residential Housing at the university. A spokesperson does confirm Varnado is an employee with the school and says he is a classified employee who is currently on administrative leave pending an investigation.

According to an affidavit, during an interview with investigators Varnado admitted to kissing the woman as well as touching and kissing her breasts and performing sex acts on her with his fingers.

Varnado’s bond has been set at $250,000.

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