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Deputy on leave after sex allegation

A sheriff's deputy assigned to patrol east Pasco County has been placed on leave with pay while internal affairs detectives investigate an allegation of sexual misbehavior lodged against him.

Timothy Simpson, 29, hired in Pasco 18 months ago, said he was removed from his duties Monday. "They came yesterday and took my car and stuff," Simpson said Tuesday.

But Simpson said he doesn't know exactly what he is accused of. Investigators told him "it was some type of sexual thing," he said.

There also was another allegation, of failing to arrest someone who should have been arrested, Simpson said.

Without specifics, it is impossible to evaluate the accusations against Simpson, said James Wardell, his attorney.

"At this point," Wardell said, "we don't even know what to deny."

Simpson, when asked if he could at least state that he had never raped anyone, did not hesitate. "I've never done anything like that," he said.

Sheriff Lee Cannon declined to comment on the reasons behind Simpson's abrupt leave.

"The sheriff does not talk about administrative leave cases," said Jon Powers, spokesman for the Sheriff's Office.

Powers also declined to comment on any internal affairs or criminal investigations of Simpson.

Being placed on paid leave is routine for deputies being investigated on serious allegations. Deputies are entitled to learn specifically what the allegations are before a formal interview with investigators. Simpson said his interview is supposed to take place next week.

Simpson has been investigated five times since being hired 18 months ago, records show.

In December, he received a letter of counseling and a letter of reprimand in two minor cases involving Sheriff's Office policies. Two months later, he was orally counseled for another minor infraction involving improper use of agency property.

In two other cases last year, Simpson was cleared after two internal affairs investigations were unable to prove he had broken any laws.

Details on the cases were unavailable late Tuesday.

One of those investigations also resulted in Simpson being put on paid suspension for a time, Wardell said. "This is not the first time he's been in a situation like this."

Last Thursday, a former Pasco County road deputy was convicted of raping a woman he stopped last year on suspicion of drunken driving. Phillip Wayne Armstrong, 30, was convicted after a three-day jury trial that pitted his testimony against hers.

Armstrong's sentencing is set for Aug. 11. He still faces trials on charges of raping two more drunken driving suspects.

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