Editor’s note: In June 2023, after this story was originally published, Lt. Col. Jon-Paul Depreo pleaded guilty to one count of assault consummated by battery and one count of conduct unbecoming an officer. As part of a plea bargain reported by Stars & Stripes, Depreo was sentenced to two months in prison. The abusive sexual contact charge and the second conduct unbecoming charge were dismissed as part of the agreement. Read more here.
The ex-commander of an engineer battalion stationed at Fort Polk, Louisiana, faces a June general court-martial for abusive sexual contact, according to online court records and an installation spokesperson.
Lt. Col. Jon-Paul Depreo, the former commander of the 46th Engineer Battalion, is charged with one count of abusive sexual contact, one count of maltreating a subordinate and two counts of conduct unbecoming an officer, said Fort Polk spokesperson Shelby Waryas. Depreo was fired as commander in January for “a loss of trust and confidence in his judgment and ability to command.”
Online court records indicate that Depreo may enter a guilty plea, but the officer’s defense attorney did not respond to questions from Army Times seeking to confirm his plans or the details of a plea bargain. Such agreements, especially those for sex crimes, often result in reduced charges.
Although it’s unclear whether the criminal charges stem from the same incident, Army Times previously reported Depreo’s relief was related to an incident that occurred at the battalion’s Dec. 14, 2022 holiday ball at a casino in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
Additionally, the unit’s former top enlisted soldier, Command Sgt. Maj. Jeremy Compton, also faces a June court-martial. Compton is accused of adultery, distributing child pornography and sharing explicit photographs of himself while in uniform, according to Stars and Stripes. Compton, who was arraigned in November, spent nearly two years as the unit’s top NCO.
Depreo took command of the “Steel Spike” battalion, a separate element of the Fort Bragg, North Carolina-based 20th Engineer Brigade, in June 2021. The engineer officer previously served in various staff roles across the Army, as well as overseas in Iraq and Germany.
His trial is tentatively scheduled for June 26.
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.