Scandal, weird crime news pervade Pasco law enforcement in 2013

As far as crime in Pasco County goes, 2013 was a relatively tame year, devoid of infamous, national-news happenings — think the Dougherty siblings' rampage, the unfathomably brutal murder by John Sexton, the summer sex party slaying of 2010.

But folks on both sides of the badge and gun still saw their names in the newspaper this year.

There were alleged scandals in closed rooms of the Sheriff's Office. Stains were revealed in the employment history of some Pasco-Hernando Community College law enforcement academy instructors. And there were the frequent double-take-prompting crime stories that earned Pasco the "Weirdest Place in the Weirdest State" accolade from the Times' own Craig Pittman in a recent Slate.com article.

Leafing through this year's notebooks, here's what we remembered most:

In August, we dredged up the work history of former sheriff's Deputy James Nagy. Sustained complaints accused him of taking photos of topless women while working security detail at a music festival and later taking inappropriate photos of a 14-year-old girl at Astro Skate when he worked as a Tarpon Springs police officer.

That Nagy was also instructing at Pasco-Hernando Community College made Sheriff Chris Nocco uneasy about who was teaching his future recruits, straining relations with the college.

A week later, April Heuss, another deputy who was also instructing at the college, resigned from the Sheriff's Office while under investigation. Then, citing concern with PHCC's hiring policies, Nocco announced he would pull out of the college's police academy. The Pasco County School District is now working to accommodate another law enforcement academy at Marchman Technical Education Center in Port Richey.

In early December, allegations arose that two Sheriff's Office members were having sex at work. Sgt. Stephen Foshey and his employee Amiee Heinemann started an affair behind the backs of both their spouses, who were also Sheriff's Office employees, in 2011. Suspicions arose after several other sheriff's employees had awkward interactions with Foshey and Heinemann. Both were fired.

Then there was the news of the weird. Plenty of it.

Deputies arrested David Edward Benes, 54, in mid September after, they say, he grabbed his 80-year-old girlfriend, held her down and tried to "exorcise her and get the devil out of her." Benes would later tell deputies his elderly girlfriend started a fight with him "because she is crazy."

Yvonne Diaz walked outside of her cousin's apartment in Port Richey on an October evening to take a phone call and got shot in the leg. She later learned the bullet had come from the gun that a man held up to his head and killed himself. The bullet traveled across the parking lot and went through her leg. She was released from the hospital the next day with minor injuries.

In November, Charles Thomas Barry made national headlines after he was arrested on charges of impersonating an officer to get discounted doughnuts and coffee. At a Dunkin' Donuts drive-through in Trinity, reports state, Barry whipped out a gold star badge and asked for a discount on his coffee. When the cashier refused, Barry held up his .38-caliber revolver — still in its holster — and said, "See? I'm a cop!"

Contact Alex Orlando at aorlando@tampabay.com or (727) 869-6247.

James Nagy’s involvement with the police academy at Pasco-Hernando Community College raised some eyebrows.

James Nagy’s involvement with the police academy at Pasco-Hernando Community College raised some eyebrows.

Scandal, weird crime news pervade Pasco law enforcement in 2013 12/31/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 31, 2013 5:36pm]

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