SARASOTA — A Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office Corrections officer charged with sexual battery on a child has been placed on paid administrative leave, according to the sheriff’s office.
Deputy Eric Farnsworth, 42, of Sarasota submitted his resignation Thursday afternoon as staff began an internal affairs investigation, deputies said.
“Due to the heinous nature of his criminal charge, Farnsworth was subject to discipline up to and including termination,” said sheriff’s office spokesperson Kaitlyn Perez.
Farnsworth was initially was placed on paid administrative leave, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office said.
On Wednesday, the Sarasota Police Department issued a warrant for his arrest on a charge of sexual battery on a child under 18.
According to the affidavit, deputies were called to Sarasota Memorial Hospital to meet with the Safe Children’s Coalition for a possible sexual battery Saturday.
The victim told deputies the abuse from Farnsworth was on and off. An unnamed person in the affidavit accused Farnsworth and the victim of “having sex” for years. At the time of the accusation, Farnsworth allegedly became physically abusive toward the victim.
The victim had reportedly been in and out of Bayside under Baker Acts, according to the affidavit.
According to the affidavit, on Saturday night, during the alleged crime, Farnsworth referred to the victim as his wife. The victim repeatedly told him that was not true, according to court reports.
The victim told a peer about the sexual assault, and that person told an adult, who filed a report with the police, the affidavit states.
Deputies said while at the hospital, a nurse who works with sexual assault victims said Farnsworth had made a comment about someone accusing him of “sleeping” with the victim, and said she thought it was very strange how Farnsworth and the victim interacted.
When Farnsworth was made aware of the investigation, he went to the police department on his own, and denied ever having touched the victim, according to court reports.
On Wednesday, deputies received a report Farnsworth was suicidal and had made several videos of himself with a gun in his hand. According to the affidavit, Farnsworth had spoken with the Department of Children and Families and confessed, but would not reveal his location.
Deputies said Farnsworth told the DCF investigator that he was sorry for lying, and the sex with the victim was consensual and never forced.
Farnsworth told the investigator “he knows he is going away for life because it is a capital felony,” according to the affidavit.
Prior to his booking, Farnsworth was transported to the hospital for self-inflicted injuries, according to police.
Deputies said upon his release from the hospital, he will be booked and held without bond, until he is seen by a judge.
He has been with the sheriff’s office since 2004.