According to the Sheriff’s Office, a criminal complaint was filed against Jeffery Lewis Cook, 51, of St. Augustine. The 17-year veteran was placed under arrest following an investigation into lewd and lascivious molestation, which is said to have occurred over the course of six years.
Sheriff Shoar stated, “Anyone who has heard me speak on these types of crimes, knows that I value our children, as well as seniors, as our highest priority for protection. I am both angry and saddened by these events, and while this incident involves one individual, it is not reflective of our agency or this honorable profession.”
Detectives are still investigating. There were no indications of any other victims, investigators said.
Records show this wasn’t the first time Cook was fired from the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office. In 1994, Cook was responding to a vandalism complaint when he got into an altercation with an African American man who was carrying a gun in his waistband.
Cook maced the man, not knowing he was an off-duty agent with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, records show. The NAACP contacted former Sheriff Neil Perry about the confrontation, and Cook was later fired.
According to documents, Cook sued the Sheriff’s Office claiming he was wrongfully terminated. In 1995, he was reinstated with back pay.