Former Volusia deputies accused of preying on women in drug court

Deputies contacted women for sex, report says

By Adrianna Iwasinski - Investigative Reporter

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. - Two former Volusia deputies stand accused of preying on women who were going through the county's drug court.

Internal affairs documents released to News 6 detail an investigation that spanned several months into the deputies' interactions with several women going through the program.

One of the former deputies, Bryan "Scott" Barnett, resigned in December. He's accused of providing a phone for one of the women and providing money for sex.

The other deputy, Jay Hawman, a 13-year veteran of the force, is also accused of preying on women struggling with addiction and contacting them after hours on social media and even having sex with some of them.

The report reveals what some describe as a culture that went unchecked, even though there were hints that indicated inappropriate behavior.

Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said he is sickened that this pattern of abuse was well-known throughout the drug court system.

"We in law enforcement pin on a badge and we are there to be trusted. We are there to be counted on. We are there when people are down on their worst moment in life. They should be able to turn to somebody in law enforcement for help," Chitwood said.

He credits a court clerk employee, who reported Hawman had requested a records search on a past drug court participant he claimed was his girlfriend, with bringing the abuse to light.

In the future, Chitwood said, the department can do a better job of screening its deputies and rotating deputies in and out of drug court supervision to try to keep an abuse of power from happening.

"There were little clues there that we missed. I think that we will be a lot better at it this time around paying attention to it," Chitwood said.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating whether any criminal charges will be filed and Chitwood is petitioning to have the deputies' licenses revoked.

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