Former Leesburg police officer arrested on sexual battery charges, investigators say

LEESBURG, Fla. — A former Leesburg police officer has been arrested and charged with sexual battery, investigators with the state attorney's office said.

Investigators announced Tuesday the arrest of Dennis Putnam, 24, at his home, investigators said.

The allegations stem from a house-warming party Putnam held March 5, deputies said.

"We're supposed to be guardians, so this is frustrating," said Sgt. Fred Jones, with the Lake County Sheriff's Office.

The woman said she drank alcohol and woke up in the guest bedroom to Putnam fondling her breasts, investigators said.

The woman said she asked Putnam what he was doing, and he said that if the woman didn't like it, she would have stopped him a long time ago, investigators said.

Putnam then sexually assaulted her, the woman told investigators.

Putnam left the room, returned and told the woman that he was sorry, and that he had been drinking too much, the woman told investigators.

"People use alcohol as an excuse," Jones said. "I look at it as a law enforcement officer, you were trained in the academy, you know the effects of alcohol. I mean, we're held at a higher standard."

During questioning with investigators, Putnam denied having sex with the woman, deputies said.

Putnam's DNA was found during the rape examination, investigators said.

"My heart goes out to her, and I'm thankful that she had the strength to come forward," Jones said.

Putnam posted his $10,000 bail and is out of the Lake County jail.

The Leesburg Police Department said Putnam was a probationary trainee with the department. He worked for the department from Dec. 29 to March 5, police said. Putman was terminated March 20.

"As with any criminal investigation, we seek justice and work diligently to serve justice under any circumstance," Leesburg police said in a statement.