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St. Lucie County Deputy Thomas Johnson bonds out of jail following sexual assault arrest

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Posted at 11:43 AM, Apr 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-11 23:03:08-04

EDITOR’S NOTE: During live streaming coverage of Thomas Johnson’s court appearance this morning, the judge named the alleged victim in open court. WPTV immediately ended the live video and deleted our Facebook post containing the video. WPTV’s policy is not to name the victims of crimes in most circumstances.UPDAT

UPDATE: St. Lucie County Detective Thomas Johnson has bonded out of jail, according to the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office.

EARLIER STORY:

A St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office deputy appeared in court Thursday morning after he was arrested for sexual assault and battery.

A judge set bond at $100,000 for 43-year-old Thomas Johnson, and ordered him to not have any contact with the alleged victim.

Johnson was booked into the St. Lucie County Jail Wednesday morning.

"Sadly I stand before you today brokenhearted, disappointed, and quite frankly disgusted by allegations against one of my own deputies," said Sheriff Ken Mascara at a news conference Wednesday.

The Sheriff said a victim bravely came forward in February, claiming Johnson committed the crime while on duty.

"When the trust is broken and the highest standards are not met, that individual has failed our community," said Sheriff Mascara.

Sheriff Mascara added there may be more victims, and he urged others who may have encountered Johnson to come forward.

"It possible this may not have been the first time this type of incident has occurred with him," said Sheriff Mascara.

Contact 5 obtained summaries of Johnson’s previous internal affairs investigations. During his tenure with the department, Johnson has been investigated 12 times, not including the most recent offense.

According to the findings, Johnson was sustained of the following allegations:

  • Made fun of a handicapped person, a man who had only one arm, while wearing his Sheriff’s Office softball uniform (written reprimand).
  • Responsible for an avoidable traffic crash (written reprimand and temporary suspension of car privileges).
  • Utilized a law enforcement database (DAVID) to lookup someone’s information for a non-law-enforcement reason (counseling).
  • Called out sick when he was out of the country on a cruise (two-day suspension).
  • Interfered with an investigation (two-day suspension).
  • Failed to report a car accident and failed to identify himself as a law enforcement officer (verbal counseling).

Johnson was also investigated for several additional incidents including two citizen’s complaints, four use-of-force incidents, and one vehicle pursuit, but was cleared in those cases.

If you feel you were victimized by Johnson, Sheriff Mascara said to call the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigation Division at 772-462-3230.

Johnson is facing charges of sexual assault on a victim 18 years or older, as well as battery touch or strike. He's being held on no bond.

Sheriff Mascara said Johnson has worked at the Sheriff's Office since May of 2003 as a detective, detention deputy, patrol deputy, and agency trainer. He's on unpaid leave pending a criminal investigation.

READ JOHNSON'S ARREST WARRANT & INTERNAL AFFAIRS SUMMARIES:

Follow Investigative Reporter Merris Badcock on Twitter.

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