Lt. Col. Jon-Paul Depreo, 42, was fired in January 2023 as commander of the 46th Engineer Battalion at Fort Johnson, La.

Lt. Col. Jon-Paul Depreo, 42, was fired in January 2023 as commander of the 46th Engineer Battalion at Fort Johnson, La. (U.S. Army)

Lt. Col. Jon-Paul Depreo was accused of groping a sergeant under his command and making sexual comments to her when he pleaded guilty to lesser charges Monday in a Fort Johnson, La., courtroom, according to court documents released Thursday.

At the time of the incident, Depreo, 42, was the commander of the 46th Engineer Battalion, and the actions described in his charge sheet occurred Nov. 28, 2022. It was the same night that the unit held a battalion-wide ball, according to a post on the battalion’s Facebook page.

Depreo was accused of unlawfully touching the sergeant’s buttocks and describing sexual acts to her in Lake Charles, a city about 70 miles south of Fort Johnson, according to the court document.

He was originally charged with one count of abusive sexual contact, one count of maltreatment of a subordinate and two counts of conduct unbecoming of an officer for his alleged actions.

Depreo pleaded guilty Monday to one count of assault consummated by a battery and one count of conduct unbecoming an officer, according to a statement from Shelby Waryas, a spokeswoman for Fort Johnson, formerly Fort Polk. Military judge Col. Maureen Kohn sentenced Depreo to spend two months in prison, which was consistent with the terms of the plea agreement, Waryas said.

Depreo took command of the 46th Engineer Battalion on June 17, 2021, and was fired in January, according to Fort Johnson.

Within Depreo’s first month in command, Command Sgt. Maj. Jeremy Compton, the unit’s top enlisted soldier, was fired amid a separate criminal investigation. Compton pleaded guilty June 1 to distributing child pornography, adultery and sharing explicit photos of himself while in uniform. He was sentenced to 20 months in prison.

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Rose L. Thayer is based in Austin, Texas, and she has been covering the western region of the continental U.S. for Stars and Stripes since 2018. Before that she was a reporter for Killeen Daily Herald and a freelance journalist for publications including The Alcalde, Texas Highways and the Austin American-Statesman. She is the spouse of an Army veteran and a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in journalism. Her awards include a 2021 Society of Professional Journalists Washington Dateline Award and an Honorable Mention from the Military Reporters and Editors Association for her coverage of crime at Fort Hood.

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