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FL: Florida detective kills self after he’s accused of owning child porn

[orlandosentinel.com – 2/21/19]

JACKSONVILLE — Authorities say a decorated Florida police detective killed himself just before he was to be arrested on charges that he possessed child pornography.

The Florida Times-Union reports that Jacksonville sheriff’s Detective Vernon Richardson killed himself Tuesday, shortly after detectives obtained a warrant for his arrest.

The neighboring St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office began an investigation in December after receiving a tip he had child porn on his computer. Detectives found an image of two adolescent boys having sex.

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  1. Gralphr

    I wonder what would make such a decorated Detective kill himself? Hmmm……. maybe forever being marked as subhuman, all but forced to live under bridges, marked drivers license and license plate, his face plastered everywhere when he moves to another neighborhood, the knowledge that at any time after his incarceration, they can come up with new rules he must follow or be sent to prison, the loss of job opportunities, and starting from the beginning, this incident hanging over his head for the rest of his life, while actual murderers will get a better chance to redeem themselves and are seen as “not as bad” as him? Yeah…… I wonder…….

  2. E

    This story and others like it put me in a dark place. My offense was C.P. Possession as well. It has been a while since my release and obviously the laws in Ca. Are more lenient(?) then Florida, but reading this still has the same affect on me. Maybe I’m stronger inside than I give myself credit for, or maybe that edge that hasn’t been reached yet. But I hope that for each life loss due to these laws, more people will be affected to a point where something changes. I am sure that this man did good things for his community, but as a law enforcement officer the emotional pressure of facing people was doubly hard.

  3. Steve D

    I must confess mixed feelings when first seeing this story. I guess I am still resentful towards the zealotry with which law enforcement goes after CP possession. I had tried to kill myself in the interval between interval and arrest; if I had had a gun like this officer I could have avoided a lot of anguish for myself, but also would have missed a lot of life. The social impact of looking at CP and the system’s reaction to the wrongdoing are so incredibly disproportional. E’s point above is well taken. How many lives, how many good people, have to be ruined before enough people wake up to the injustice that it may be addressed. My heart goes out to the officer’s friends and family. I hope that some of them will join the cause.

  4. R M

    I have no sympathy whatsoever for this person who “In 2012 he won “Local Law Enforcement Officer of the Year” from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, recognized for his “consistent efforts and dedication to locate missing children.” and “… was also in charge of the children’s ministry at Riverstone Community Church in Jacksonville with his wife…”. https://www.jacksonville.com/news/20190220/jacksonville-detectives-apparent-suicide-follows-warrant-against-him-in-child-porn-case

    20 years as an officer, he obviously knew what would happen if he got caught yet still chose to hurt his family, his church, his fellow officers, and his community. Much like the rest of us did to our families, myself included. No one had/has sympathy for me.

    • AJ

      While I have empathy for the departed officer, it’s limited. As a cog in the machine, what did he do to try to improve things? Maybe he tried and it fell on deaf ears, I don’t know–but my suspicion is he was a h@rd-@ss cop to cover-up what was going on behind closed doors. (That seems to be a human trait: overcompensate for one’s own sins by appearing to despise them. Kinda like “hating” the girl on the playground that you actually have a crush on.)

      What’s particularly sad is this will not be any sort of wake-up call to anyone in FL government. Instead of seeing how pervasive these issues are and how destructive the consequences, I’m quite sure he will instead be trash-talked and mocked and shredded by his one-time friends and colleagues.

      It’s a sad loss for his loved ones, and an even sadder loss if nothing is learned from it.

  5. Dustin

    I don’t know and won’t assume the man was guilty of anything. Can’t help wondering if whoever provided the tip had something to do with putting whatever on the accused’s computer. I think it’s just as feasible that he committed suicide because he knew he’d get convicted whether he was guilty or not.

    I find it curious that with CP specifically, they claim that those who view CP inevitably assaults a child at some point. Well, if that’s true, then why doesn’t that logic apply to the LE officers and prosecutors who comb through hours and hours of it to decide the best ones to use for their stings? Or the FBI agents who took over whatever dark site?

    A little further, for the stings involving intent to assault a non-existent minor. Shouldn’t the same logic apply to the LE and vigilantes and leave them subject to arrest for endangering the non-existent minor? Don’t all states have a statute making it a crime to coerce another to commit a crime? Why aren’t at least the vigilantes arrested for that (assuming LE really does want them to stop)?

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