Florida deputy accused of sexual relationship with minor, police say

Florida deputy accused of sexual relationship with minor, police say
a Florida deputy is accused of a sexual relationship with a minor. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

CLAY COUNTY,Fla. — A Florida deputy is accused of having a sexual relationship with a minor, authorities said.

Travis Pritchard, 36, a DUI enforcement deputy with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, was arrested at 2:42 a.m. Saturday while on duty by the Green Cove Springs Police Department, WJAX reported. He was charged with lewd battery on a minor, authorities said.

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Clay County Sheriff Darryl Daniels said in a statement that Pritchard had been terminated from his position.

Police said the mother of a 15-year-old girl called at approximately 10:42 a.m. Tuesday about alleged sexual intercourse between her daughter and a 34-year-old man.

The woman said she believed her daughter had been sneaking the man into their home late at night for the purpose of having sex, WJAX reported. The mother told police she believed the man was a deputy with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, authorities said.

The Green Cove Springs Police Department operations commander and a patrol sergeant were dispatched to the call. At the home, the sergeant conducted a preliminary interview with the victim. During that interview, the sergeant obtained information and observed evidence on the victim’s cellphone that led her to believe the accusations, according to a police report.

During the investigation, the Green Cove Springs Police Department was able to identify the suspect as Pritchard, WJAX reported. Police learned that the victim originally met Pritchard near Clay High School and had a sexual relationship for several months, according to the Green Cove Springs Police Department.

Detectives moved quickly to establish communication with Pritchard, WJAX reported, posing as the victim. During this period, they received messages police called “incriminating,” the television station reported.

In a statement released Saturday, Daniels called the incident “unfortunate.”

“It is unfortunate when a law enforcement officer commits an act that is counterproductive to the hard work being done in the profession," Daniels said. "If found guilty by the courts, this former deputy, Travis Pritchard, will have a long time to reflect on his actions.

“I ask that the citizens of Clay County not make the mistake of judging all law enforcement based on the actions of one. The men and women of the Clay County Sheriff’s Office remain committed to making Clay County a safe place to live; that will never change.”