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Romance leads to firings at Pasco Sheriff's Office

NEW PORT RICHEY — Whispers already had begun to circulate around the Pasco Sheriff's Office about a curious relationship between the supervisor of the sex offender unit and a civilian-member crime analyst. Then he moved her desk into his office, where he could close the door.

Sgt. Stephen Foshey, 43, had established a solid record at the department over 13 years, rising to a rank of sergeant overseeing a squad of detectives. But on Nov. 27, Sheriff Chris Nocco fired him after an internal affairs investigation found he had sex with the crime analyst at the office.

An investigative report released outlines the tryst that affected all corners of the department. The four principals in the case worked there; two were supervisors.

"We've sent a clear message to our citizens and to our members that we're going to be absolutely fair under this administration," Nocco said in an interview Tuesday. "And we will hold ourselves to a higher level with integrity being paramount."

Amiee Heinemann, 34, an employee since 2000, was also fired. She began working for Foshey in January of 2009 and told investigators the two began a romance in April 2011. Both were married at the time.

Other deputies at the office took notice of their affection. One told investigators he was so uncomfortable that he would sound his siren before walking into the building, "for self-preservation ... because I thought something was going on and I didn't want the knowledge of that," he said.

Several detectives interviewed said they became more suspicious of the relationship when Foshey moved Heinemann's desk into his office at a complex near Gowers Corner. She said her other work area was too noisy and Foshey's office was quiet. Detectives said the two kept the door shut most of the time.

Both acknowledged the desk being in Foshey's office, but Heinemann said the door was never closed for more than a short moment. Foshey said he didn't feel the desk placement was inappropriate. Both denied having sex in the office.

Two detectives said they saw Foshey and Heinemann disappear into the bathroom for several minutes, drawing suspicion.

At the time, Foshey was married to Sharon Foshey, supervisor of the sheriff's major crimes unit. Heinemann's husband is Ronald Heinemann, a road patrol deputy. The Fosheys have since divorced and the Heinemanns are in the process of divorce.

Foshey and Heinemann moved in together.

She divided custody of a daughter with her husband and met him at a Hess station at Gower's Corner to pick her up. While he was on duty, Foshey parked his patrol car at a nearby gas station and watched, even though a child protective agreement he signed said he wasn't allowed to attend the exchange. He told investigators he watched to protect Heinemann from her husband.

Foshey was charged with three counts of conduct unbecoming of a Sheriff's Office member and one count of falsifying a time card. Heinemann faced two counts of conduct unbecoming. All allegations were ruled "sustained.''

Nocco said he hopes agency members will come forward if they see deputies violating general orders.

"It may happen at other organizations," he said, "but it cannot and will not be tolerated at the Pasco Sheriff's Office."

Times researcher Natalie Watson contributed to this report. Contact Alex Orlando at aorlando@tampabay.com or (727) 869-6247.

Romance leads to firings at Pasco Sheriff's Office 12/03/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 3, 2013 7:40pm]
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