PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — A former Putnam County school resource deputy was accused of sexually battering a high school student.
According to the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, an adult victim came forward on Nov. 13 to accuse Joshua Herren, 36, of sexually battering her for three years when she was a student. The sheriff’s office said they received an anonymous tip regarding an inappropriate relationship between the two in 2018, but the victim denied the allegations against Herren.
Herren declined to participate in an interview with the sheriff’s office and was placed on administrative leave on Nov. 14. The sheriff’s office said he resigned via text message about an hour later.
On Monday, a warrant was issued for Herren’s arrest on four counts of sexual battery of a minor. He was arrested later that day and is being held in the Putnam County Jail without bond.
“The fact that now as an adult, [the victim] wished to acknowledge her abuse and seek justice is both brave and admirable,” Sheriff DeLoach said. “It is my sincere hope along with the hardworking men and women of this agency, this arrest will allow the victim to now begin the next step in the healing process.”
In a news conference on Monday, Sheriff DeLoach detailed the allegations against Herren.
According to WTLV, the victim told deputies she had a relationship with Herren from ages 15 to 18, but they talked over text before the victim turned 15. She told deputies Herren “snuck” into her home to sexually batter her while her mom was at work or asleep. The victim also told deputies Herren wanted her to dress up as a younger child and call him “daddy”.
When she tried to cut contact with Herren by blocking his number and social media profiles, the victim told deputies she began getting letters from him saying to keep their relationship a secret.
The Florida Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission will be reviewing the case. Sheriff DeLoach said they hope to have Herren’s law enforcement officer certification permanently revoked.
“When a law enforcement officer betrays the trust of the community and their fellow law enforcement officers it is unacceptable. I am furious,” Sheriff H.D. ‘Gator’ DeLoach said. “Every single day thousands of law enforcement officers across this country and hundreds right here in our community selflessly serve and uphold the integrity of our profession. This is quite frankly disgraceful and will not be tolerated from any member of our agency.”
Although state law allows law enforcement to withhold booking photos for officers, the sheriff’s office said it released Herren’s mugshot “due to the extreme nature of the charges in this case and our practice to be transparent with our community.”