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Sarasota Sheriff's Office Captain accused of molesting girl
SARASOTA - The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating a captain at the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office over allegations he molested an underage girl in the mid-1990s.
Sheriff's Capt. Ron Locke is being investigated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement over allegations he molested a girl in the 1990s.
FDLE assigned a special agent from its Fort Myers office to investigate claims that Sarasota Sheriff's Capt. Ron Locke had "inappropriate sexual relations with a person under the age of 18," FDLE spokesperson Gretl Plessinger said.
Plessinger said FDLE agents interviewed the alleged victim in the case; she would not elaborate further on what that person said.
Locke, who was not a captain when the incident is alleged to have occurred, now heads the Sheriff's Office court services department, overseeing deputies who provide security in the courtrooms. He is one of nine captains at the Sheriff's Office.
Locke, 45, remains on active duty. Contacted at his office in the courthouse Friday morning, Locke declined to comment on the investigation or allegations.
Ed Brodsky, Chief Assistant State Attorney in Sarasota, said Friday his office has received the FDLE investigation, but he would not comment on its contents or who is the subject of the probe. He said he is still reviewing the case and had no timeline for when a decision on possible prosecution might be made.
Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight said in an email that it would be inappropriate to comment on an active investigation by another agency.
"I will review the facts once the findings of their investigation are released," he said in the email. "I would caution anyone against relating allegations that have not yet been substantiated or for which charges have not yet been filed."
Sheriff's spokeswoman Wendy Rose said Locke was never removed from duty because when FDLE first contacted the sheriff, "they had already launched their investigation based on third-party information."
"They assured the sheriff that during the investigation, if they were able to substantiate any potential criminal allegations they would notify him immediately," she wrote. "He has not been accused of anything so there was no basis for leave."
She added that the Sheriff's Office has not started any internal affairs investigation of Locke.
"An internal affairs investigation of what?" Rose wrote in an email. "We have not received a complaint against him, nor have we been presented with the investigation by the FDLE. Until we learn of their findings, and the decision of the State Attorney's Office, we have nothing to investigate."
While it is not yet known whether charges would be filed, several of the state's sex crime laws — especially those involving juvenile victims — have no statute of limitations, meaning prosecution may commence at any time.
Plessinger said FDLE was first notified of the allegations in February. The agency launched its investigation March 22, and turned over its findings to the State Attorney's Office in Sarasota on May 7, "to review the facts of case and make a determination whether to prosecute or not," she said.
Plessinger said she was not told why it took so long for the allegations to surface.
The facts of the case and exact nature of the allegations are confidential until the State Attorney's Office files charges or declines to prosecute, Plessinger said.
Locke has risen through the ranks at the Sheriff's Office and held several different positions, including detective. At one time he was the community police officer assigned to Siesta Key.
According to Sheriff's Office records, Locke was hired in 1989. Knight promoted him to captain in 2010. Locke makes $105,537 a year.
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