A St. John's County deputy was terminated from his position Friday after 17 years at the agency after he was charged with molesting a girl.
A spokesperson for the St. John's County Sheriff's Office said the Special Victims Unit arrested 51-year-old Jeffrey Cook after the victim came forward. They said the alleged crime happened over the course of six years, while she was still a minor.
It was an extensive overnight investigation. Late Thursday night, the sheriff's office was told about the events, which they say happened about a decade ago.
“We’re really surprised and very shocked,” said a neighbor, who did not want to be identified.
Neighbors said they didn't expect this from the man they say has a family. He's been seen with a teenaged boy and a wife at his home in South Saint Augustine. Neighbors said he stayed to himself.
"It’s not something you want to hear in your neighborhood,” said the neighbor who wanted to remain anonymous.
In November, First Coast News interviewed Cook and his colleague after he was named a hero for helping find an elderly man with dementia. The man had wandered off and he was found in the marsh outside of Flagler Hospital, covered in mud.
Sheriff Shoar said in a statement, "I am both angry and saddened by these events, and while this incident involves one individual, it is not reflective of our agency or this honorable profession.”
Cook is charged with one count of Lewd and Lascivious Molestation. He was fired from the sheriff's office following his arrest.
At this time, detectives said are no indications of any other victims, but anyone with information is asked to anyone has anyone with additional information is asked to contact Detective Sergeant George Harrigan at (904) 209-2443. Cook’s first appearance in court is Saturday morning.