A Hillsborough sheriff’s deputy has been placed on unpaid leave as the office investigates allegations he had a sexual encounter at a homeless camp.
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE
A Hillsborough County sheriff’s deputy is on unpaid leave as the office investigates an allegation he received oral sex from a woman at a homeless camp, records show.
Deputy Anthony Marrero, 44, admitted to investigators that he watched the woman masturbate in her tent on Aug. 23 but he denied she performed oral sex on him, according to a search warrant affidavit filed in the case.
Marrero (who is no relation to the writer of this story) was placed on unpaid leave Aug. 29.
“The allegations against Deputy Anthony Marrero are deeply disturbing, and they are being thoroughly investigated,” Sheriff Chad Chronister said in a statement. “At this time, an investigation is ongoing to determine if his actions are criminal. Once that is concluded, an internal investigation will follow to determine if he violated any Sheriff’s Office policies or procedures.”
The gender and age of the person involved are redacted in the search warrant affidavit. The Sheriff’s Office confirmed the individual is an adult female.
Marrero’s attorney, Ellis Faught Jr. of Brandon, told the Times, “He categorically denies any sexual battery allegations.”
The woman told investigators Marrero didn’t force her to perform sex but she “felt compelled to do so because he was in uniform,” the affidavit says.
In an interview with investigators, Marrero gave an account consistent with the woman’s “except for the oral sex,” which Marrero denied, according to the affidavit.
Afterward, Marrero “exited the wooded area and left the scene,” the affidavit says.
The woman is in her mid-20s and the tent where the incident occurred was located in an area behind a restaurant, according to records from a 911 call.
The Sheriff’s Office launched a sexual battery investigation and a judge signed a search warrant Aug. 27 so investigators could seize his white uniform shirt and green pants to test for the woman’s DNA.
Marrero joined the Sheriff’s Office in April 2017, according to a spokeswoman.
The affidavit gives this account:
Marrero and his partner responded about 2 a.m. on Aug. 23 to a non-violent domestic dispute between the woman and her boyfriend. To separate the parties, Marrero drove the woman to a homeless camp in a wooded area in Tampa where she was living at the time.
Footage from a surveillance camera in the area shows Marrero, dressed in his Sheriff’s Office uniform, parking his patrol vehicle near the wooded area, entering the woods to look for the woman’s tent and then returning to the patrol car.
Marrero is then seen removing the woman from the back seat and the two enter the woods about 2:05 a.m.
A few minutes later, Marrero returns to the car alone, then after a couple of minutes, he walks back into the woods, the video shows. He returns to the car about five minutes later and leaves shortly after that.
The woman told investigators that while Marrero went back to his car the second time to get her a bottle of water, she removed her pants and began to masturbate in the tent. When Marrero returned, he saw her, exposed himself and the woman performed oral sex on him, the affidavit says.