Friday, September 14, 2012

Former DCF Investigator Arrested For Sexual Bribery

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Florida -- A former Florida Department of Children and Families investigator was arrested Friday for allegedly soliciting sexual favors from a New Smyrna Beach woman in exchange for using his own urine for her drug screening. 


32-year-old Andrew Thomas was taken into custody at his current home in Carlisle, Pennsylvania on a warrant charging him with bribery by a public servant, official misconduct, and falsifying records.


Thomas visited the 22-year-old victim the morning of May 8 at her home near New Smyrna Beach, Florida. The woman related to Volusia County Sheriff’s investigators that Thomas told her he needed a urine sample for a drug test so that he could then close her DCF case. The woman complied. 


The woman said that Thomas immediately tested the sample and claimed that it was positive for drugs.  This allegedly led to a conversation about how bad the test results would look for the victim and Thomas lamented that his supervisor would likely want him to notify the woman’s probation officer. During this talk, the woman claims that Thomas mentioned that he wished he had taken the test for her, using his urine in order to give her clean results.


Thomas allegedly explained to the victim that he could lose his job for helping her, so she would need to do something to prove he could trust her. The woman told investigators that Thomas started pressuring her to have sex with him in exchange for a clean urine sample. 


At one point, the victim said she tried recording the conversation using her cell phone, but Thomas noticed. He then allegedly ordered her to delete the recording and have sex with him. The victim said she was finally able to appease Thomas by taking off all of her clothes so he could look at her body, but they did not engage in any sex.  Thomas then provided a urine sample and had the victim sign paperwork attesting to having passed the drug screening.


The victim later told her boyfriend what had happened and the boyfriend called Thomas to confront him. Thomas allegedly apologized, but explained that he had felt that he was backed into a corner when the victim had failed the test. To help her he needed to have her do something that would prove her trustworthiness. Thomas also stressed to the boyfriend that he was in the process of closing all of the victim’s DCF cases.


The victim notified Thomas’ supervisors at DCF. They then informed Thomas that a complaint about him had been filed but they didn’t provide any details to him about it at that time. The next day Thomas moved out of his residence and submitted a letter of resignation to DCF stating that he was moving to Pennsylvania to be near family. However, a Volusia County Sheriff’s investigator contacted him in Pennsylvania and during an interview Thomas confirmed what the victim had told deputies. He explained, “I was in a dark place.” 


Investigators obtained the arrest warrant signed by circuit court judge Frank Marriott on Thursday. He was booked into the Cumberland County Prison in Pennsylvania where he will await extradition back to Volusia County, Florida.


The Volusia Sheriff's Department says that it is believed that Thomas may have victimized others in a similar manner. Another woman has already come forward to say that Thomas had been assigned to her DCF case and he subsequently called and texted her late at night. She said that he complimented how she looked, invited her to the beach and to go gambling, and asked her about body massages and sex. 


Anyone with information about additional such encounters is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office at (386) 423-3301 or (386) 423-3888.