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Jury selection begins in former Leesburg police officer's sex battery trial

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LEESBURG, Fla. - Jury selection is underway in the trial of a former Leesburg police officer who was charged with sexually battering a woman he was taking to jail in 2012.

Henri Bart Larue was arrested after the allegations surfaced in October 2012.

"One count of sexual battery by a law enforcement officer with a firearm," the judge read the charge that Larue is facing.

The former police officer is now facing life in prison.

Monday morning, the judge quickly dismissed a handful of jurors who had heard about the case through media reports, before attorneys went on to question the rest.

The victim is expected to testify during the trial. Investigators said she told them that Larue forced her into sex acts after she was arrested and on the way to jail.

"He just turned around and had this smug look on his face and told me that this was the first time he had ever done that and started laughing," the victim said during an interview with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

FDLE later said it found the victim's DNA on Larue's uniform.

Investigators said a ride from the police station to the jail should have taken about 12 minutes. But according to authorities, Larue's time was nearly double that, and a dispatch recording captured Larue joking about flirting and about making a pit stop on the way to the jail.

"You know how it is when you're flirting with a female," Larue told the dispatcher.

"Yeah. But that's OK, we understand," the dispatcher said.

"It's alright. We made a pit stop and all that good. You know how it goes," Larue said.

Larue has pleaded not guilty to the charge. His wife and family were in the courtroom supporting him on Monday.

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