Sheriff’s deputy fired after sexual battery arrest in Clay County

A Clay County sheriff’s deputy was fired last week, immediately after his arrest on a rape charge. A woman told police about the alleged assault that happened March 8. Two days later, Deputy Jacob Middleton, 26, was arrested and fired, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Very few details on the case were released, though the woman said she did know Middleton prior to the incident and that she went to his apartment that evening. Middleton was released from jail on a $50,000 bond, the newspaper reported.

Organizations like the sheriff’s office have little tolerance for any arrests – especially a sex crime and especially for a rookie cop still in his probationary period. Middleton had been with the department since September. Clay detectives are also the ones investigating the case, so they know as much about what actually happened as anyone – excluding Middleton and the alleged victim. The quick firing could mean they have a good idea Middleton is guilty and can be convicted. Or it could mean he’s not worth the bad headlines for a few months while the case plays out. One certainty is sexual assault charges can be difficult for the state to prove, depending on how much physical evidence is available. In many cases there will be evidence of sexual contact, but one side will be saying it was consensual sex, while the other says it was rape. Then, it’s her word against his.

Depending on the severity of the charge the state ultimately files, Middleton could be looking at life in prison. That’s unlikely, since he’s been released on a $50,000 bond – but a significant prison sentence is indeed a possibility. Moreover, any plea or conviction would brand him as a sexual offender and Middleton would have to register and have his picture broadcast whenever he moves his residence.

Our Clay County sex crimes attorney has represented dozens of men accused of sexual assault. The charges are life-altering and require an experienced criminal defense attorney who won’t be afraid to ask the tough questions and examine every detail of the case to present to a jury.

If you or a loved one needs a sex crimes attorney in Orange Park or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm, PA at (904) 365-5200 for a free consultation. Our Clay County criminal lawyer is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.