Indian River County Deputy Pleads Guilty to Lesser Sex Charge
by Enrique Heredero, Florida Today
VERO BEACH, Fla. - A former Indian River Sheriff's deputy was sentenced to probation and community service after pleading guilty to sex charges involving two teen-age boys.
Bruce Allen Reap of Vero Beach will go to jail after appearing before a county judge Thursday on three misdemeanor counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and two battery charges. All of the counts were lesser charges of sexual battery, said Nikki Robinson, assistant state attorney for the 19th Judicial District.
Robinson said Reap was sentenced to five consecutive years of probation and given 200 hours of community service.
He also gave up his law enforcement certificate. "Our biggest concern was that (Reap) would try and be a police officer again," Robinson said.
As part of his probation, he can't contact the victims or any child under 18.
Reap was arrested by sheriff internal affairs investigators in July after deputies talked with the parents of a teen-age boy that told them Reap had sexually abused their son.
During the internal affairs investigation, officials said they spoke to another teen that said he also was sexually abused by Reap. Investigators said the second teen said Reap showed pornographic magazines to him and gave him alcohol.
Reap, who was fired from the sheriff's office upon his arrest, was initially was charged with four counts of lewd and lascivious acts on boys under age 16 and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He would have faced a maximum of 60 years in prison and fines of up to $40,000 if he had been convicted on the charges.
However, Robinson said the charges were lessened after the credibility of one of the victims was questioned.
She declined to comment on the credibility issue but said prosecutors didn't pursue the case further in the best interest of the state and victims.
"Clearly, the state attorney's office would've preferred a stiffer sentence, but the plea was necessary as opposed to putting the victims on the stand."
Undersheriff Scott Taylor said Reap would never again be a law enforcer in Florida and he wishes Reap would've received a larger sentence.
"But we have an issue here that some people don't think about and that is the victim," Taylor said. "We think it's possible as a result of this that the victim is mentally scarred. It was agonizing for the agency to accept a plea bargain."