Deputy suspected of sexting juvenile arrested, fired

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A Douglas County Sheriff’s Office deputy suspected of sexting a juvenile was arrested after sheriff’s investigators received a tip.

Robert M. French lost his job with the sheriff’s office by Feb. 11, within days of his arrest. He did not work as a school resource officer and was terminated for department policy violations and alleged criminal conduct, said Sgt. Ron Hanavan, public information officer. 

The investigation began early in the week of Feb. 3, when the sheriff’s office received a tip about inappropriate text messages involving a juvenile, Hanavan reported in a Feb. 9 news release.

The investigation led to French, who allegedly sent the text messages while off duty, according to Hanavan.

The sheriff’s office worked the case with the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office and the Rocky Mountain Computer Forensics Lab. By Feb. 8, French was taken into custody and charged with two counts of sexual exploitation of a child.

French was booked at the Douglas County detention facility but was taken to the Arapahoe County jail, where he remained on a courtesy hold until posting $50,000 bond, Hanavan said.

Douglas County officials opted to send French to the Arapahoe County facility in the interest of security and personnel issues.

“It’s a little less uncomfortable for all employees that know (French),” Hanavan said. “And it’s a security issue because if you work in this building, you’re familiar with the building.”

French was released following an internal affairs investigation that was conducted in tandem with the criminal investigation.

“This is a very complex case. It is anticipated to be lengthy and there may be additional arrests,” Hanavan said in the initial press release.

The case remains an active investigation and Douglas County District Court issued a motion to seal the case to limit pre-trial publicity.