PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. — The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office said it has arrested a deputy for a sex crime against a minor.
A youth resource deputy from Putnam County is in police custody for child sex crimes.
The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office said Joshua Robert Herren was arrested Monday and is currently in jail without bond.
Herren has been charged with custodial sexual battery, a first degree felony. He has also been charged with two counts of unlawful sex with certain minors and one count of an authority figure engaging in lewd conduct with students.
Herren was employed as a resource officer for several years, according to the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff Gator DeLoach said the allegations began in 2018. The victim was a juvenile at the time and originally denied anything happened.
On Nov. 13 the victim, who is now an adult, came forward to the sheriff’s office and confirmed that sexual relationship did in fact take place between she and Herren.
On Nov. 14, Herren was called to the Criminal Investigation Bureau of the sheriff’s office to be interviewed. Upon notification of the allegations, he declined to be interviewed, left the building and contacted his captain via text message and resigned.
That resignation was made effective immediately and irrevocably.
A warrant was issued Monday, Nov. 28 and Herren was taken into custody.
“Herren does not represent the law enforcement community any longer and is a disgrace to our profession,” DeLoach said. “I’m personally disgusted that he once wore the same uniform we all do.”
Officials say there is a multitude of physical evidence in this case.
“Our hearts are broken for the victim in this case, and we pray this arrest may be the next step in the healing process for them,” DeLoach said. “We’re also disgusted and angry when a law enforcement officer betrays the trust of the community and their fellow law enforcement officers.”
Rick Surrency is the superintendent of schools for the Putnam County School District.
He said the district is working in full cooperation with the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office.
“This incident upsets me terribly, as it does not meet the high standards that we set for our public employees who serve our schools and our community,” Surrency said.
The investigation is now being forwarded to the Florida Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission to get Herren’s certification as a law enforcement officer permanently revoked.
The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office is only aware of one victim. Officials encourage anyone with information to come forward.
“We have a responsibility as parents to be active and engaged in our children’s lives,” DeLoach said. “That includes having conversations with them about who they’re having relationships with them, whether they be sexual or just private in nature.”
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