JFRD paramedic charged with soliciting child for sex, deputies say

Deputies: 53-year-old thought he was talking dirty with 14-year-old girl

By Ethan Calloway - Anchor/reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A 53-year-old paramedic with the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department has been charged with soliciting a child for sex after months of exchanging explicit emails with someone he thought was a 14-year-old girl, according to the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office.

David Eugene Labelle was arrested in Jacksonville and charged with soliciting a child or person believed to be a child for unlawful sexual conduct using a computer and the unlawful use of a two-way communication device. He was booked into the Duval County jail on $20,000 bond and made a first appearance in Jacksonville on Wednesday. There was no word on when be transferred to St. Johns County.

During the conversation, Labelle sent the “teenager,” who was actually an undercover detective, several photos, including ones of him wearing a firefighter badge and firefighter T-shirt, deputies said. According to the arrest warrant, Labelle sent one photo from inside JFRD Station 27 on Fort Caroline Road, and records later confirmed he was working at the station the day the photo was sent.

A JFRD spokesman said Labelle was immediately removed from field duty, pending an internal investigation. Labelle has been with JFRD since 2003.

Labelle was the 20th man arrested in connection with the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office summertime undercover operation, dubbed "Operation Cruel Summer," targeting suspects allegedly using the internet to exploit minors for sex. 

The St. Johns County Sheriff's Office operation, which occurred in July, involved undercover detectives posing as juveniles online to arrange for unknown suspects to meet with them at an undisclosed location in the county.

Deputies said an investigator responded to an ad Labelle had placed titled "Naughty Daughter," and that Labelle consistently communicated with the undercover detective's child persona since the operation began, describing in detail how he wanted to sexually abuse her.

According to deputies, among the sexual comments Labelle made to the 14-year-old were:

  • "I like lots of things. Using my tongue is one of them."
  • "Your (sic) going to have to be willing so your (sic) not forced to participate."
  • "I'd want to start kissing you, gently touching you."
  • "What size bra do you wear? ..."

Many of the other comments investigators listed in the arrest warrant are so graphic that News4Jax has chosen not to include them in this story.

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