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Manatee deputy suspended for ‘sexting’ woman (updated)

MANATEE — A Manatee County Sheriff’s Office deputy has been suspended for 86 hours after he reportedly used his cell phone to send a sexually explicit photo of himself to a woman, according to an internal affairs report released Thursday.

Deputy Alan Judy, who has worked for the sheriff’s office for almost six years and is assigned to patrol Anna Maria Island, has no prior disciplinary record.

Investigators at the sheriff’s office became aware of the “sexting” after an anonymous letter was sent to the sheriff’s office with an attached picture showing an sexually explicit image of Judy. The writer said Judy had sent the image to more than one woman.

“These women are afraid to come forward for fear of retaliation as Deputy Judy can be very intimidating. Is this type of behavior you want to represent the sheriff?” the letter states. “Unfortunately, I, too, wish to remain anonymous so that myself and my family don’t become targets of any backlash.”

The sheriff’s office investigation determined Judy used his personal cell phone and sent the message when he was off duty. Investigators were only able to confirm that one woman received the photograph.

When interviewed by authorities, the woman said she was not offended by the image.

Judy was punished for sending the text message because it provides a “clear nexus between the image and Deputy Judy’s employment with Manatee County Sheriff’s Office. ... As a result, an investigation was conducted, which has now resulted in the image becoming a public record pursuant to public records laws in Florida. Based on these facts, it can be concluded that Deputy Judy’s actions, although absent malice or ill intent, have placed Deputy Judy and the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office in a position inconsistent with accepted law enforcement standards.”

Manatee County Sheriff Brad Steube said while deputies are allowed to have personal lives, they are also held to a higher standard.

“Apparently someone in the public got hold of it and was disgusted by it and sent it to us — now linking it with the sheriff’s office,” Steube said. “You do have a personal life (as a deputy), but if what you do in your personal life becomes an embarrassment to yourself and the agency, then I think people would be concerned about that.”

Judy also had 86 hours of vacation time deducted, according to the report.