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Nov. 28, 2022

This morning Putnam County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested former deputy Joshua Herren, 36 for sexual assault on a victim older than 12 but less than 18 years old.

On Nov. 13, the now-adult victim, came forward to the sheriff’s office about a sexual relationship she had while a minor with Herren. The sheriff’s office had previously received anonymous information regarding an inappropriate relationship between the two while Herren was assigned as a youth resource deputy. While a criminal investigation was initiated, the claims could not be substantiated due to the victim declining to provide any information and stating there was no relationship. Additionally, detectives were unable to locate any person to corroborate the anonymous information.

The victim now confirmed a sexual relationship took place and a new criminal investigation was immediately initiated. Concurrently an internal investigation was ordered.

On Nov. 14, Herren was summoned to the Criminal Investigations Bureau of the sheriff’s office for an interview. Herren declined to participate in the criminal interview. At that time Herren was immediately stripped of all law enforcement authority and placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. About one hour later Herren notified his supervisor by text of his intent to resign. The resignation was immediately accepted, thus revoking his commission as a deputy. However, the criminal investigation continued in cooperation with the 7th Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office.

This morning an arrest warrant was issued for Herren’s four counts of sexual battery. At about 11:30 a.m. Herren was arrested by detectives with the Major Crimes Unit and booked into the Putnam County Jail without benefit of bond.

“When a law enforcement officer betrays the trust of the community and their fellow law enforcement officers it is unacceptable” Sheriff H.D. ‘Gator’ DeLoach said. “I am furious. 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.”

The investigation will now be forwarded to the Florida Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission seeking to revoke his law enforcement certification. Herren was hired by the sheriff’s office in 2016 and has no prior discipline.

The victim has invoked Marcy’s Law and as a child-victim of a sexual battery, the sheriff’s office is committed to protecting her identity, including not releasing any information that can compromise her identity. It should be noted the victim’s refusal to provide information on the initial investigation is not a reflection on this current investigation. Victims have an absolute right to decide if they want to prove information. Crimes such as this one take an enormous emotional toll.

“The fact that now as an adult she wished to acknowledge her abuse and seek justice is both brave and admirable,” Sheriff H.D. ‘Gator’ 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.”

State public record laws provides an option to withhold booking photos of law enforcement officers. 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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