SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — A Sarasota County Sheriff’s deputy was dismissed from duty after an investigation found he made several sexual advances on a woman and offered to “get her off” her charges following her arrest in October.
The investigation began when a woman, whose name is being withheld by News Channel 8, was arrested on Oct. 3 for domestic battery. While being detained, the woman told authorities she was only arrested because she refused Deputy Michael McMahan’s advances on her after the two met during another investigation several months earlier.
Documents showed McMahan first met the woman in June when she was arrested for driving under influence.
“The day after her arrest, Deputy McMahan contacted [the victim] via cellphone, inquiring if she was okay or had any questions about her arrest,” the documents said. “She stated Deputy McMahan told her he could ‘get her off,’ which she presumed referred to her charges, but she later believed it was a sexual inference as he began sending unsolicited sexually explicit photos to her.”
Call records showed McMahan phoned the victim five times from his agency-issued iPhone. A subsequent forensic analysis of McMahan’s agency-issued phone uncovered seven sexually explicit photos that were recovered from chat logs that were no longer within the phone’s camera folder, “indicative of being deleted from the phone.”
The analysis also found “sexually explicit text conversations with another subject utilizing ‘Discord.’ Within the chat, Deputy McMahan identified himself as a law enforcement officer.”
On Oct. 12, Deputy McMahan admitted to “taking and sending explicit photos with his agency-issued iPhone, participating in inappropriate text conversations via Discord while on duty with his agency-issued iPhone, and contacting [the victim] after her arrest and exchanging photos and inappropriate text messages.”
However, McMahan denied meeting with [the victim] and denied arranging for a date during the June DUI investigation. He was let go.
The victim’s arrest was also determined not to be retaliatory.
“This is a disgusting case,” said former Deputy Chief of the Sarasota Police Department, Stephen Moyer. “It is a disgrace to the badge. I’ve been in public safety for 39 years and this is the type of officer that you do not want on the job.”
A statement provided to News Channel 8 from the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office said the following:
“In this profession we equip officers with huge responsibilities, but one of the most basic is the expectation of serving with integrity. In this case, an ex-employee who otherwise performed well and received positive evaluations from supervisors, took advantage of his position and tarnished the same badge most of us work tirelessly to honor. It’s disappointing and misaligned with the culture of our workforce and what drives our personnel to serve daily. When made aware of the allegations, we acted swiftly to terminate the employee. Further, Sheriff Hoffman is committed to cooperating with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to do everything within his power to ensure this person never wears a badge again.“