ORLANDO, Fla. – An Orange County deputy was arrested Sunday on child abuse charges, the same day he was fired from the agency in an unrelated matter, according to sheriff’s officials.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office said Deputy Christopher Dougherty was arrested three days after deputies responded to a 911 call about a residential alarm. Deputies determined there was evidence of child abuse after they arrived at the apartment, officials said.
According to an affidavit, a girl living in the apartment said Dougherty told her that there were demons in the house and they needed to burn things that were possessed, so they set several items on fire in the parking lot near a drain and performed an exorcism on the girl’s brother.
The girl was lying in a prone position with a rifle on the floor wearing a Kevlar helmet and a bulletproof vest when authorities arrived, records show. She said Dougherty told her to shoot anyone who came inside the apartment and she was prepared to do so, according to the report.
A male was also located in the apartment holding a Taser, authorities said.
The ages of the male and girl were not provided.
Dougherty was taken to a hospital under the Baker Act and, upon his release from the hospital, he was arrested, the sheriff’s office said. Deputies said he placed the girl in danger by giving her a gun and telling her to shoot.
The Sheriff’s Office said Doughtery was terminated from the agency Sunday for an unsatisfactory performance finding in a separate matter.
“While this deputy was terminated for a pattern of unsatisfactory performance, these are very serious criminal allegations,” Orange County Sheriff John Mina said. “As law enforcement officers, we are held to the highest standards of conduct whether on duty or off duty. But we are also concerned about the deputy’s mental health.”
Dougherty was hired in January 2006 and worked in the uniform patrol division.