Lake Wales police officer charged with having sex with teen
(BTLS Staff) LAKE WALES, Fla. – An officer with the Lake Wales Police Department is behind bars charged with have sex with a minor.
Sgt. Aaron Woodford Barnes, 37, was taken into custody while on duty Tuesday. He is facing four counts of sexual activity with a minor and one count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
He was booked into the Polk County Jail and released after posting a bond of $20,500.
According to an incident report issued by the Lake Wales Police Department the alleged victim in the case was 16 and 17 when the sexual encounters occurred. Investigators received a tip earlier this week about Barnes involvement with the juvenile.
Polk County Sheriff’s Office deputies took over the investigation and discovered the relationship began in May 2014. Barnes and the girl had sex four times before the end of the year the report states.
“I am extremely disappointed with the conduct of Aaron Barnes,” said Lake Wales Police Chief Chris Velasquez. “I assure you this incident is not representative of the men and women that work hard every day serving this community.”
The teen told investigators she first had contact with Barnes in early 2014 when she was just 16. The first sexual encounter occurred in May when the victim was dropped off at Barnes’ residence by a friend.
The second encounter took place on the girl’s 17th birthday when Barnes invited her to his home where he allowed her to drink wine according to the arrest report.
Following his arrest the suspect denied have sex with the juvenile but did admit to sending her ‘inappropriate texts.’ Investigators are not aware of any other victims.
Barnes was employed by the Lake Wales PD in May 2009. He was promoted to sergeant in December. He was placed on paid administrative leave.