BARTOW — In a very disturbing case, a deputy sheriff with the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office has been arrested and charged with sending pornographic images to a 9-year-old girl.
Cansas Sadler Jr., 41, was arrested on Wednesday, June 19 in Shalimar after a joint investigation by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and their counterparts in Okaloosa County. The two agencies reported that Sadler is married and has two children.
“I’m disgusted — as a parent, law enforcement officer, and a human being — that a guy, a deputy sheriff, would manipulate a young child and expose her to this,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said after the arrest. “I commend the work of our detectives, Okaloosa County detectives, and everyone else involved who helped put this miscreant in jail.”
What Led to Sadler’s Arrest?
The investigation started on June 11, and detectives concluded that the deputy had sent pornographic images to a 9-year-old Winter Haven girl. The girl’s mother had contacted Polk County detectives about this.
“Sadler first made contact with the victim by sending her a direct message to her cellphone via an online interactive mobile game called The Wolf, noted Brian Bruchey, public information officer for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, in his report on this arrest. “During his communications with the victim, he portrayed himself as an 11-year-old girl named Jade and an adult male named Jason, using both identities in an attempt to manipulate the victim into sending nude images of herself and to meet up for a sexual encounter.”
Sadler and the girl sent messages back and forth on the morning of June 8. The next day, Bruchey reports, “Sadler called the victim’s phone and her mother answered. During the texting dialogue with the girl, Sadler sent the victim three pornographic images and sent numerous messages that were sexually explicit.”
That led to Sadler being arrested in Okaloosa County, and booked into the Okaloosa County Jail on several charges, including:
* Using a computer to solicit a minor, a felony;
* Misrepresenting his age during the solicitation of a minor, also a felony;
* and using a two-way communication device to facilitate a felony.
Polk County detectives also charged Sadler with seven counts of Transmitting Material Harmful to a Minor, also a felony.
What’s Been The Local Reaction?
The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office reported that Sadler was immediately terminated from his position. He had been hired in July 2018 and was still in new-hire probationary status. Prior to being hired by OCSO, Sadler had retired from the U.S. Army.
Okaloosa County Sheriff Larry Ashley responded to the arrest by saying, “I’m always disheartened when someone sworn to serve and protect commits any crime, much less crimes of this nature. It’s an affront to all the hard-working, dedicated law enforcement officers who work tirelessly each day to keep our citizens safe.”
Judd added that this case is a warning to parents to carefully monitor their children’s cell phone activity, including text messages.
“Let this be a reminder to parents that they need to closely oversee their child’s online activity, and to everyone else that we will not tolerate anyone preying on our children,” Judd said.
The two law enforcement agencies were assisted in the investigation by members of the Police Departments in Fort Walton Beach and Crestview, as well as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
“I want to thank our investigators and their counterparts from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office,” Ashley said. “As Okaloosa County Sheriff, I greatly appreciate their teamwork and professionalism in working to develop the evidence, arrest, and hold the suspect accountable.”
Michael Freeman is an Orlando journalist, playwright and author of the book “Of Cats And Wolves.” Contact him at Freelineorlando@gmail.com.