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Palm Coast Tuesday, Sep. 11, 2018 11 months ago

Sheriff's Office plans additional diversity training in wake of misconduct cases

Deputies who worked at the courthouse been disciplined over a variety of alleged offenses, including using racial slurs.
by: Jonathan Simmons News Editor

Three Flagler County Sheriff’s Office employees who worked at the county courthouse have been disciplined over a series of misconduct allegations that have led the Sheriff’s Office to require remedial human diversity training for its courthouse-assigned staff.

"I take human diversity seriously, and I’m not going to tolerate inappropriate language or behavior."

— RICK STALY, Flagler County Sheriff 

Two of the three are alleged to have used racial slurs. The special training class required of the courthouse deputies is in addition to a state-mandated diversity training class required of all FCSO staff, Sheriff Rick Staly said.

“I take human diversity seriously, and I’m not going to tolerate inappropriate language or behavior,” he said. 

The employees involved are Deputy John Freshcorn, who has been served notice of intent to terminate his employment; Cmdr. Brian Pasquariello, who has been given a written reprimand and transferred from the courthouse to the jail; and Sgt. John Bray, who retired while under investigation and facing termination.

The allegations included the use of a racial slur against black people by Freshcorn and Bray; lax security procedures that let certain people bypass normal security screening when entering the courthouse; the alleged mishandling by Bray of a timecard issue involving a civilian employee who has since been fired and charged with theft for allegedly falsifying timecards; and abuse by Freshcorn against another deputy that included the making of repeated false allegations that the other deputy had child pornography on his phone.

Another employee who worked at the courthouse, Deputy Jeffrey Puritus, was also disciplined and transferred to patrol as a result of a previous inquiry into misconduct at the courthouse that included his alleged use of a racial slur; one more employee, Deputy Howard Underwood, admitted during the course of the investigation to having used a racial slur, and is now under investigation. 

Staly said the agency, under his leadership, has a careful hiring process to screen out people who would not be a good fit.

“Everyone that has been disciplined was hired by two different administrations before I was sheriff, so I don’t know what kind of processing backgrounds were done during that process,” Staly said. “Since January 2017, our employees go through a strict background check with on-site visits where they live and with their employers; we interview neighbors; they go through psychological testing; they go through an interview process.”

At the courthouse, Staly added, the agency has also now appointed as commander  “no-nonsense” Sgt. Kim Davis, previously a patrol and internal affairs supervisor.

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