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Woman says Pinellas deputy fondled her

ST. PETERSBURG — A Pinellas County Sheriff's Office deputy is being investigated after a woman complained he touched her inappropriately early Sunday, authorities said Wednesday.

The 25-year-old woman called police shortly before 4 a.m. and said that she awoke to find Deputy Shawn Walsh, 37, touching her back and buttocks, St. Petersburg police spokesman Bill Proffitt said.

Walsh, an eight-year veteran of the Sheriff's Office, declined to comment through an agency spokeswoman. But the deputy denied the allegations in an interview with police, Proffitt said.

The woman and Walsh's wife went out to a nightclub, St. Petersburg police said. They came back to Walsh's home; she was drunk and began vomiting, police said

"She claims that at some point after she fell asleep on the couch, he was touching her on the back and then, allegedly, he touched her on the buttocks, under her clothing," Proffitt said.

The woman, whose identity is being withheld because of the nature of the allegations, left the home and told her boyfriend about the incident. They then called police.

St. Petersburg police have forwarded the information to the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office for review. A representative with that office said Wednesday afternoon they had not yet received it.

Walsh was hired in July 2001 and makes $57,978 a year. He works in community policing for the agency's patrol operations bureau.

Rita Farlow can be reached at farlow@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4157.

Woman says Pinellas deputy fondled her 08/26/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 26, 2009 9:39pm]
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