FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - A Fort Lauderdale Police officer has been arrested for allegedly engaging in inappropriate online chats with minors.
The officer, identified as 29-year-old Louis Walsh, was arrested by the Broward Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday.
His department has placed him on administrative leave without pay and issued this statement: pic.twitter.com/Hp9vZByABE
— Frank Guzman (@fguzmanon7) March 24, 2021
According to detectives, Walsh engaged in sexual conversations with who he thought was an underage girl in Minnesota.
“The conversations were sexual. The person also took a picture of himself and exposed his private parts,” said BSO detective Veda Coleman-Wright.
BSO said Walsh was arrested after he sent nude photos of himself on two occasions to someone he believed was a minor, but it was actually an undercover investigator in Minnesota.
“Investigators from Minnesota shared that photo with our detectives, and our detectives were able to identify the individual. They were able to confirm that this was a police officer with the Fort Lauderdale Police Department,” Coleman-Wright said.
Detectives said Walsh has been with the department for five years and works in close contact with minors by providing security off-duty at Cardinal Gibbons High School and Saint Anthony Catholic School.
He is also a wrestling coach at Cardinal Gibbons, which investigators said is a red flag.
“There’s concern that there may be some victims that we’re unaware of,” Coleman-Wright said.
“I was just surprised,” said a Cardinal Gibbons High School student. “Everyone’s shocked. Everyone is kind of mad about it.”
Fort Lauderdale Police said Walsh’s arrest was difficult for everyone involved.
The department released a statement saying in part, “The Fort Lauderdale Police Department is shocked and disappointed to learn of the arrest of one of our officers … The details surrounding these allegations are very difficult to hear and do not reflect the character and professionalism expected of the men and women of this agency.”
Walsh is currently on administrative leave without pay. He faced a judge, Thursday morning.
“On count one, the court does find probable cause — transmission of material, harmful material to a minor, undercover detective — count two, same charge,” said Broward Circuit Court Judge Tabitha Blackmon.
The judge ordered Walsh’s bond to be set at $70,000, which he has posted. Once released from the Broward County Jail, he will have to wear an ankle monitor.
He was also ordered to not have any contact with minors, access to the internet and has to surrender his passport and any guns.
BSO said if you or someone you know was also a victim of Walsh, they urge you to call 954-888-5290.
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