Jacksonville, FL — Just 10 months ago, the Fraternal Order of Police in Jacksonville took to Facebook to praise officer David Gedert for his heroism on the job. This month, however, they are quickly distancing themselves from the man after he was arrested for the alleged rape of a child under the age of 13.
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On Tuesday, Gedert was arrested on two outstanding warrants for charges of criminal sexual misconduct with a victim younger than 13, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s office. Gedert had been on the force just 21 months.
It seems as though Gedert attempted to escape the pending charges against him as he moved to Jacksonville, Florida and the charges were from Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Because Gedert had only been with the department for less than two years, he was not yet in the protected status and police could fire him.
“He is fired without question and will no longer serve as a police officer here,” Undersheriff Pat Ivey said, noting Gedert could be terminated immediately since he was a probationary employee and had no civil service protection.
The details of Gedert’s charges are sealed due to the nature of his alleged crimes and the age of the victim. Ivey said the department had no way of knowing they hired an alleged pedophile given that the crimes for which he was just arrested are alleged to have happened six years ago.
“This is very significant here and he needs to be held accountable,” Ivey said. “… I wish we could have caught this one in the processing, but again knowing the behavior was six years ago, there may not have been an indicator.”
Though these crimes are alleged to have happened six years ago, as TFTP has reported, pedophiles rarely act only once and in fact usually have dozens of victims over the course of their lives.
Ivey told reporters that Gedert’s alleged crimes do not represent the department as a whole.
The canned excuse of Gedert “is a unique case and a bad apple,” falls short of explaining away this alleged crime because the Jacksonville Sheriff’s office is rife with criminals. As Jacksonville.com points out, Gedert was the fifth Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office employee arrested this year, four of whom were police or corrections officers, Ivey said. That includes two Jacksonville corrections officers arrested in March after a disabled inmate was beaten in the Duval County jail, the Sheriff’s Office reported.
It is a sad day when police officers — the ones who claim to protect us — are caught preying on society’s most vulnerable. However, there are a lot of sad days as this situation plays out like a broken record, over and over again.
Pedophiles often seek out positions of power and authority over children so they are in a position to abuse. Priests, teachers, coaches, police officers, counselors, and others are just some of the fields in which pedophiles will attempt to gain employment. Unfortunately, it’s not the first time we have reported on police officers raping kids.
As TFTP has reported, a study exposed the startling fact that police officers are arrested about 1,100 times a year, or roughly three officers charged every day. Many of these arrests are over unspeakable sex crimes.
“Police crimes are not uncommon,” the study’s lead researcher Philip M. Stinson concluded. “Our data directly contradicts some of the prevailing assumptions and the proposition that only a small group of rotten apples perpetrate the vast majority of police crime.” Although nearly 60 percent of the crimes “occurred when the officer was technically off-duty,” Stinson wrote, “a significant portion of these so-called off-duty crimes also lies within the context of police work and the perpetrator’s role as a police officer, including instances where off-duty officers flash a badge, an official weapon, or otherwise use their power, authority, and the respect afforded to them as a means to commit crime.”
According to a report from WaPo, in cases involving allegations of sexual abuse, 72 percent of the officers were fired, and more than 80 percent resulted in convictions, the study found. There were 422 reported cases of forcible and statutory rape, 352 cases of forcible fondling and 94 sodomy cases over the seven years of the study, which Stinson called “larger than expected based on the existing research.” The data search turned up 174 examples of male officers arrested in cases of “Driving While Female,” in which women drivers were harassed or assaulted. About 82 percent of those cases ended in convictions.
Despite the high rate of conviction, the sentences handed out are insultingly low.