One of the three Washington County deputies arrested or fired over the last month was terminated after taking nude photographs of a woman without her knowledge, according to a termination letter released by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.
A May 2 termination letter to Darren Morrow states he was fired for violating the Sheriff’s Office policy against conduct unbecoming an employee or officer.
"That is conduct unbecoming an Employee or Officer of the Washington County Sheriff's Office," said Rick Hoyt, Enforcement Major of the Washington County Sheriff's Office.
“The reasons for your termination stem from an incident that occurred where you used a cell phone to take nude pictures of a female (redacted) without her knowledge,” the termination letter states. “You then went to a local Wal-Mart and printed several hard copy prints, prompting Wal-Mart to call the Fayetteville Police Department because of the nature of the photos.”
The termination letter goes on to state Morrow drove his county-owned police vehicle to Walmart to order and pick up the nude photographs.
"The only reason we know that is because Wal-Mart has a lot of video cameras throughout their store," Hoyt said. "During an investigation we were able to see the person come in the store, leave the store and get in that particular car."
Walmart employees believed the photographs may depict an underage girl. A subsequent investigation, though, revealed the woman in the photographs is an adult, Hoyt said.
"It is illegal to take pictures of a person in a place that they believe they have a reasonable expectation of privacy and they are in the nude," Hoyt said.
Fayetteville police reviewed the case and forwarded it to the federal Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, said Sgt. Craig Stout with the Fayetteville Police Department. No charges have been filed in the case.
“Although at this time, (redacted) has indicated an unwillingness to prosecute, it does not negate the facts of your actions,” the letter states.
"They have several years to change their mind, because of the statute of limitations," Hoyt said. "This is a potential felony charge."
Another Washington County deputy, Hayden Colt Miller, 23, was arrested last week after an alleged victim awoke to find Miller performing a sex act on him without his consent, according to the Washington County Sheriff's Office. Fayetteville police investigated the incident and arrested Miller on suspicion of rape.
Miller was then fired from the Sheriff's Office.
A Washington County jail detention officer was arrested last week after authorities said he ran his ex-girlfriend off of the road while a one-year-old child was in the vehicle. Dalton Shepherd, 22, faces charges that include assault on a family member. He resigned from his position May 14, a day after his arrest.