A lieutenant colonel commanding an engineer battalion at Fort Polk, Louisiana, has been fired amid a criminal investigation, an installation spokesperson confirmed to Army Times.

Lt. Col. Jon-Paul Depreo was relieved as commander of the 46th Engineer Battalion, a separate battalion of the Fort Bragg, North Carolina-based 20th Engineer Brigade, according to a statement from Fort Polk spokesperson Shelby Waryas. The 18th Airborne Corps-aligned lieutenant colonel did not respond to Army Times’ request for comment before this story’s publication deadline.

“[Depreo] was relieved of command for [a] loss of trust and confidence in his judgment and ability to command, amid allegations of misconduct,” Waryas said in a statement. “The U.S. Army is currently investigating the allegations.”

Waryas also confirmed the Army Criminal Investigation Division is “one of the agencies investigating the alleged misconduct,” adding that Depreo “is presumed innocent until a court or commander finds them guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Depreo’s relief is linked to an incident that occurred at the battalion’s Dec. 14 holiday ball at a casino in Lake Charles, Louisiana, according to a source familiar with the move. Waryas declined to verify details of the alleged incident, which Army Times could not independently confirm.

The engineer officer took over the “Steel Spike” battalion in June 2021, according to unit social media. Depreo previously served in various engineering-oriented staff roles across the Army, including in Iraq, the Pentagon and Germany.

The relief comes on the heels of local authorities arresting five soldiers stationed at the Louisiana post on rape charges. The arrests were first reported by Military.com and local news outlets.

Davis Winkie covers the Army for Military Times. He studied history at Vanderbilt and UNC-Chapel Hill, and served five years in the Army Guard. His investigations earned the Society of Professional Journalists' 2023 Sunshine Award and consecutive Military Reporters and Editors honors, among others. Davis was also a 2022 Livingston Awards finalist.

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