STARKE, Fla. – A 35-year-old Florida corrections officer was arrested Saturday in Bradford County after authorities said he admitted to having sex with a 13-year-old girl.
Leith Sullivan, of Cape Canaveral, is charged with sexual battery on a person under 18. He was on a leave of absence from the Okeechobee Correctional Institute when he was arrested. The Florida Department of Corrections is processing his termination.
While Sullivan admitted to having sex with the victim since August, when the victim and her mother lived in Orange Park, then Jacksonville. About a month ago, they moved to Bradford County.
According to the arrest report, he knew what he was doing was wrong, but he never forced himself on the girl because "he fell in love with her. "
Bradford County Sheriff Gordon Smith had strong words for Sullivan, or anyone who would prey on children.
"That's one of the most disgusting crimes. It just grinds my gears," Smith said. "This is somebody that has care, custody and control of people who have committed such crimes. You know better. People in our profession know, there (are) just boundaries you don't cross."
Smith said other family members were possibly involved and other charges could be filed in this case.
The Florida Department of Children and Families said the child is safe and it is conducting its own investigation into the sexual abuse.
Smith said such crimes will not be tolerated in his county.
"We will seek you out and we will find you regardless of who you are what your position; how much authority you have," Smith said. "There are grown men and women out there taking advantage of children. America is better than that, and we have to do it one community at a time."