JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A Jacksonville Sheriff’s officer who resigned after being accused of soliciting prostitution was having sexual encounters while he was on duty and sometimes used an apartment occupied by the sheriff’s office, according to a report by Internal Affairs.
Officer Joseph LeGard resigned last week, shortly after his superiors recommended he be fired.
The internal affairs report details statements from a woman who said she had three sexual encounters with LeGard at the apartment on Broward Road. The apartment was a “stop station,” typically used as a temporary office by members of the sheriff’s office.
The woman, identified as Emily Howard, was a jail inmate when she submitted a tip to the sheriff's office saying, “...have been paid for sex by an officer a couple of times. Can show or tell u location it happened.”
Based on that time, the Integrity/Special Investigations Unit began investigating LeGard. The report said LeGard initially denied ever having a sexual encounter at the apartment and said he’d never even had a woman visit it, but changed his story several times during the course of an interview.
“LeGard agreed his decision/actions would disappoint his wife and she would consider him to have cheated," the report said. "Later, LeGard stated ‘I made a bad judgment.’”
Internal Affairs said, during its investigation, it learned LeGard had been behaving inappropriately toward a clerk at a Motel 6, who said he stopped by frequently and pressured her for sex when he was on duty.
Before she was visited by investigators, the clerk, Glenda Gray, had posted on her Facebook page, “When a JSO officer asks to be your friend and u look crazy like he’s talking in a foreign language, um nah, I’m good.”
Gray told investigators LeGard had gone to her home, even though she had never provided her home address or personal information. The report said records show he did visit the house, taking him out of his assigned work area during his shift.
The report showed LeGard did have sex with another clerk at the hotel.
Investigators details a lengthy relationship between LeGard and Shevonica Howell, the mother of a man he had arrested for battery. Howell denied there was anything romantic or sexual between them. When LeGard was first asked about it, he denied knowing Howell’s first name and said he barely knew her, the report said.
A fifth woman, identified only as Sharon, is mentioned in the report, saying she had sexual encounters with LeGard.
“LeGard spent a significant amount of time at four locations associated with five separate women (Howard, “Sharon,” Gray, Brown and Shevonica Howell), and not conducting his patrol responsibilities,” the report said.
Evidence in the case was presented to the State Attorney’s Office, but prosecutors felt there was a low likelihood of conviction. But it was enough for commanders to recommended LeGard be fired. He resigned on Friday after learning of that.