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Hernando jail officer accused of sex with Pasco girl, 16

HUDSON — A 43-year-old detention officer at the Hernando County jail was arrested Tuesday on charges that he had sex with a 16-year-old girl.

The girl told Pasco deputies that in February and May, she had sex with Gregory C. Heiser of Hudson. Two juveniles told authorities they saw Heiser at the girl's bedroom window one night, and the girl later told them that Heiser told her that her pregnancy test came back negative.

According to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office, Heiser told the girl's mother that he was in love with the girl, who is not being identified because of the nature of the allegations. He gave the girl a cell phone and a key to his house, which deputies found and placed into evidence, the sheriff's report said.

Hernando jail Warden Russell Washburn said Heiser has been placed on paid leave while the jail conducts its own investigation into the allegations.

"Anytime a person in this industry finds themselves on the opposite side," Washburn said, "it's a blemish on the entire industry."

Heiser faces two charges of unlawful sexual activity with a minor. He is also being held on a warrant for a sexual battery charge involving a 39-year-old victim.

That victim told authorities that Heiser invited her to his home last year and sexually assaulted her, Pasco sheriff's spokesman Kevin Doll said. He declined to provide any further details, saying that case is under investigation.

Heiser has worked as a corrections officer for 13 years, starting in 1996 through 1999 at the Hernando County jail, according to his personnel file.

Since then, Heiser, who is divorced and has a son, has worked various stints for the state Department of Corrections and the Sumter and Pasco jails.

Heiser returned to the Hernando County jail for a second time in April 2008, but soon faced disciplinary action. He twice received written reprimands for sleeping at his post — once on the day he was hired.

In January, he again fell asleep at work, and received a three-day suspension without pay.

In April, he was suspended for three days without pay for violating security procedures involving an incident where corrections officers used excessive force on an inmate.

His annual review in 2008 said he "seriously compromises security when he is not attentive while on duty."

Records indicate Heiser was convicted of DUI charges in 1998 and 2008.

He remains at the Land O'Lakes jail for the latest charges on $70,000 bail.

Camille C. Spencer can be reached at cspencer@sptimes.com or (813) 909-4609.

Hernando jail officer accused of sex with Pasco girl, 16 07/01/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 1, 2009 9:13pm]
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