The fact that Beaumont police knew Raymond Reginald Peoples was a suspect in a series of armed sexual assaults before he was arrested on other misdemeanor traffic violations raises questions about when the public should be alerted to ongoing criminal activity, the Beaumont Enterprise reported.
Beaumont Police Chief James Singletary told the Enterprise on Friday that “public safety is our first priority. The integrity of the investigation is right behind it.”
Peoples, 31, was indicted last week on three charges of aggravated sexual assault. The newspaper reported that the first and third alleged incidents occurred on July 9 and Sept. 6 at Pointe North Apartments, where Peoples lived. The unrelated alleged assault occurred on Sept. 1 at a home on Buffalo Avenue.
In all the cases, victims said a man entered their home holding a handgun and attacked them sexually.
Peoples was arrested during a traffic stop on Sept. 13.
The Enterprise reported that a detective discovered similarities between the July 9 and Sept. 1 crimes, and Singletary told the newspaper the police became interested in Peoples after the Sept. 6 attack. He defended the decision not to go public with that information earlier, doing so could have hampered police in developing their case and being able to arrest a suspect.
Peoples remained in Jefferson County Jail after his probation on unrelated charges was revoked. He is being held on a bond of more than $1.25 million, the newspaper reported.