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Former school resource officer charged with sexual battery of student in Putnam County

The Putnam County Sheriff's Office will give details Monday in regard to the arrest of a deputy for a sex crime against a minor.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A former school resource officer in Putnam County has been arrested after having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a student, according to the Putnam County Sheriff's Office.

During a news conference Monday, Sheriff Homer "Gator" DeLoach said that Joshua Robert Herren, 29, has been charged with four counts of sexual battery.

DeLoach explained that a previous investigation was launched in 2018 based on allegations, but no charges were brought forth due to both parties denying any involvement.

Recent allegations brought forth by the victim led to a secondary investigation.

The victim told deputies they had a relationship with Herren from the time they were 15 to the time they were 18

The victim said that and Herren had texted back and forth prior to her turning 15.

The victim described different incidents where Herren would come to their home while their mom was at work and would engage in sexual acts in a bedroom. The victim also described times when Herren “snuck” in while their mother was sleeping or gone from the home.

The victim described Herren as wanting her to dress up as a young girl and for her to call him “Daddy”.

The victim told police that at one point they ended the relationship and blocked his phone number and his social media accounts. 

However, the victim said at that point she began receiving letters from him at her home. The victim described them as plain white envelopes with a name on them and explained the letters warned them against telling anyone about the relationship.

The sheriff's office says Herren was brought in for questioning on Nov. 14 of this year and once he knew the type of changes he was up against, abruptly left the building. DeLoach said he resigned via text message about 40 minutes later. 

Herren was booked on no bond.

Credit: PSCO
Joshua Herron

DeLoach said this case has been forwarded to the Florida Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission in an effort to have his certification as a law enforcement officer permanently revoked. 

DeLoach said Herren began his employment as a deputy in 2016 and has received no prior discipline.

"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," said DeLoach. "We are also disgusted and angry. When a law enforcement officer betrays the trust of the community and their fellow law enforcement officers it is unacceptable."

State public record laws provides an option to withhold booking photos of law enforcement officers. PCSO says due to the extreme nature of the charges in this case and "our practice to be transparent with our community, we have released Herren’s booking photo."


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