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Sarasota County Sheriff's Office employee accused of sexually abusing a child

Investigators say the child told them the abuse began at 11 years old.
Credit: Sarasota County Sheriff's Office

A Sarasota County Sheriff's Office employee was arrested Wednesday and charged with sexual battery of a person under 18.

On Tuesday, the sheriff's office said it learned that Eric Farnsworth, 42, was part of an active criminal investigation with the Sarasota Police Department. He was immediately placed on administrative leave.

On Nov. 9, detectives were dispatched to Sarasota Memorial Hospital where they met with someone from the Safe Children's Coalition to investigate a possible sexual battery that had reportedly occurred on Nov. 7. 

While speaking with the minor, investigators say the child told them the sexual abuse began at age 11 and continued until Saturday.

Authorities say Farnsworth came to the police department on his own after being informed of the investigation. He agreed to speak to detectives and denied ever touching the girl, according to an arrest affidavit. But, someone with the Department of Children and Families told investigators that Farnsworth admitted to the sexual abuse, the affidavit states.

A warrant for Farnsworth's arrest was issued on Wednesday, and he turned himself in. As of Thursday, he was being held in jail without bond.

The sheriff's office said Farnsworth was hired in 2004 but did not specify his job title. He resigned Thursday as an internal affairs investigation began.

"Due to the heinous nature of his criminal charge, Farnsworth was subject to discipline up to and including termination," the sheriff's office said.

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