Sheriff’s Office deputy arrested for allegedly using social media app to send explicit photo of himself to 16-year-old female

Deputy, who has resigned, also charged with using law enforcement database to search for women with whom he reportedly initiated contact through social media

Scott Kelly. Photo courtesy Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office

On March 30, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office arrested a deputy after investigating a report that he had used a social media app to send an explicit photograph to a 16-year-old female, the agency announced on March 30.

Further investigation found that he had been using a law enforcement database to access contact details for various women, and then he began communicating with them via social media, Sheriff’s Office reports show.

“We wouldn’t have known about this if it hadn’t been for the courageous mother who stepped forward,” Kaitlyn R. Perez, the agency’s director of communications, said of the juvenile’s mother in a recorded video statement.

Scott Andrew Kelly, 27, has been charged with one count of Distributing Obscene Material to a Minor and five counts of Violation of Public Records Law, a news release says. He is being held without bond in the Sarasota County Jail, the release points out.

His arraignment has been scheduled for May 6, the Sheriff’s Office’s Corrections Division records show.

When Kelly was hired in April 2018, he was assigned to the Patrol Bureau, the news release adds.

Perez said in the recorded video statement that, as Internal Affairs officers attempted to interview Kelly while he was being booked into the jail on March 30, Kelly resigned. “He no longer is an employee of the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office,” she stressed.

(Perez apologized for having to issue the recorded statement on behalf of the agency. She explained that she was in Central Florida for training, but Sheriff Kurt A. Hoffman wanted to make it clear that Kelly’s actions “in no way reflect the values of our organization … We believe that the majority of Sarasota County knows that,” Perez added.)

Investigators will remain in contact with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) regarding Kelly’s “moral character violations and the future of his law enforcement certification,” the Sheriff’s Office news release says. Perez also emphasized that in her statement.

“This is one of the toughest days for our agency and one of the toughest days for our profession,” Perez pointed out. “When a public official utilizes his badge and his uniform to gain personal benefit … it deeply impacts the men and women who wear the uniform every day and do the job the right way.”

The investigation

Detectives launched their internal investigation on March 2 after the Sarasota mother of the 16-year-old notified the agency that her daughter allegedly had received an inappropriate photo from an unknown male deputy, the news release says.

Detectives learned that, in November 2021, Kelly had responded to the juvenile’s home for an unrelated 911 call for service, the release adds. At that time, the arrest report says, “Kelly was made aware of [the juvenile’s] age.”

The following day, the report continues, Kelly sent the juvenile “a friend request on Snapchat from his Snapchat account …” The juvenile accepted that request, the report notes, and the two communicated over the next two days.

During that time, the report says, Kelly sent the juvenile “approximately three photos of his [genitalia] and ten photos of himself clothed. [The juvenile] felt uncomfortable receiving the photos and she blocked him on her Snapchat,” the report adds.

An investigating officer noted in the report that none of the photos was saved, so the officer was unable to view them.

Kelly also told an investigator that he had not saved any of the photos or text communications involving the juvenile, the report points out.

This is the Sheriff’s Office headquarters on Cattleridge Boulevard in Sarasota. File photo

During an interview with an investigator at the Sheriff’s Office headquarters on Cattleridge Boulevard in Sarasota, the report continues, “Kelly admitted to finding [the juvenile’s] Snapchat ID through her TikTok account and he initiated contact with her.”

Kelly told the officer, “The two communicated off and on through Snapchat over the course of several months,” the report adds. “Kelly described one conversation with [the juvenile] in which they spoke about having sex with one another.”

As the investigation continued, a separate arrest report explains, officers learned that Kelly was using the Florida Driver and Vehicle Information Database (D.A.V.I.D.) to search for “young adult females, some of whom he searched multiple times on various dates.”

After a search warrant was obtained for Kelly’s cell phone, that report says, “[a] forensic download was conducted and numerous photos were located which contained D.A.V.I.D. information such as driver’s license photos, names, and addresses. Among the photos,” it adds, were those of “several young adult females.”

This is the log-in for the D.A.V.I.D. system on the internet. Image from the website

One of the counts involved a female listed only as “A.P.” in the report. During an officer’s interview with her, she said that she had had no contact with law enforcement officers and never had met Kelly. However, before November 2021, she continued, Kelly began messaging her over Facebook, “and their conversations transitioned to Snapchat. During their conversations, they sent one another pictures on a couple [of] occasions,” the report adds.

When the officer showed Kelly’s driver’s license photo to A.P., the report notes, she verified that he was the person with whom she had been communicating.

She added that she never spoken with Kelly in person, and their online communication “ceased several months ago.”

“A review of Kelly’s in-car GPS location at the time he searched A.P. in D.A.V.I.D. showed he was near the intersection of University [Parkway and Honore Avenue],” the report continued. Investigators found that “Kelly ran A.P.’s registered vehicle, presumably on University Pkwy, and then ran her name in D.A.V.I.D.,” the report says.

He also photographed her driver’s license information, including her name and address, “along with her photo array, and those photos were found on his personal phone during the forensic download. He was not on a call for service [at the time he was checking on A.P.’s registration and license],” the report points out. “A search of A.P. through Sheriff’s Office reporting databases shows she has had no contact with law enforcement,” the report adds.

Another report says that, in December 2021, Kelly used D.A.V.I.D. to search for details about a female listed as E.I. Like A.P., E.I. told an officer that she had had no contact with law enforcement officers and had never met Kelly. However, she said that she had exchanged communications and “explicit photos” with him through social media, the report notes.

That report indicates that Kelly searched for E.I.’s details in D.A.V.I.D. when he was near the intersection of 17th Street and Tarpon Avenue; he was not on a call for service at that time, either.

A map shows the location of the intersection of 17th Street and Tarpon Avenue in Sarasota. Image from Google Maps

Officers also verified that E.I. had had no contact with law enforcement officers “on or around the time” that Kelly searched the database.

In yet another case, a woman listed as L.P. did tell an officer that she met Kelly one time, at a Wawa, “while he was working,” after they had begun communicating over Snapchat and exchanging photos. They “spoke in person for approximately 10 minutes before parting ways,” that report says.

On a separate occasion, the report continues, “while Kelly was working, he asked L.P. to meet him on a ‘dark road behind Livingston’s’ to have sex, but she declined.”

This map shows the location of Livingston’s Amusements in Sarasota. Image from Google Maps

In his interactions with that female, the report notes, Kelly called himself Andrew Johnson.

Kelly allegedly found L.P. by searching D.A.V.I.D. while he was in the 3100 block of 17th Street in Sarasota, the report says. Once again, he was not on a call for service.

Anyone with information related to this case is encouraged to contact the Criminal Investigations Section at 941-861-4900, the Sheriff’s Office news release adds.