A 17-year-old in Florida was part of a program for future law enforcement officers, but instead, a mentor sexually abused the teen, the Bay County Sheriff’s Office said this week. Now one of their own deputies, 21-year-old Matthew Allen Anderson, is charged with sexual battery upon a child 12 years of age or older but under 18 years of age by a person in familial or custodial authority.
Anderson “did on numerous occasions have sexual intercourse with a minor child, and while doing so was an on-duty Deputy Sheriff, and in a custodial position over the minor child through the BCSO Explorer Program,” according to documents.
The sheriff’s office said it learned Tuesday morning about the abuse. Anderson served in an advisory position in the program, the office indicated.
“When interviewed, Anderson admitted to five to seven sexual encounters with the victim, sometimes while he was on duty,” deputies said.
Anderson allegedly discussed locations for four incidents. For example, one happened at a ballpark and another at a local residence, deputies said.
Two others allegedly happened when he was on duty, in uniform, and driving his marked patrol vehicle. One location was a gas depot and another was on Frankford Avenue near the Sweet Bay neighborhood.
Anderson was getting extra pay as an advisor for the Explorer Program, authorities said. Deputies noted that as part of the rules, members are told about insubordination and obeying lawful orders from their advisors.
“This further demonstrates the Defendant’s custodial authorities over the Victim,” deputies wrote.
The sheriff’s office said they put Anderson on unpaid leave.
“The Bay County Jr. Deputy and Explorer Program is a program for youth that are interested in law enforcement,” Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford said. “It breaks my heart to know the damage that these actions have caused our kids in the program. I stand behind the leadership of the Jr. Deputy and Explorer Program for all of the good work that they have done with the kids in this program, and as they work to rebuild the trust of the parents and kids. We will not let the actions of one person destroy the many positive successes of this program.”
Anderson is represented by the local public defender’s office but has yet to be assigned a specific attorney. He had a first appearance on Wednesday and posted a $25,000 surety bond. An arraignment is scheduled for Dec. 15.
[Booking photo via Bay County Sheriff’s Office]
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