Sheriff: Osceola County deputy aided ‘childhood friend’ accused of sexual contact with minor

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — A deputy in Osceola County has been arrested on several serious charges, according to officials.


The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office said former deputy Arturo Dominguez, 30, was arrested for “abusing his access to law enforcement databases and aiding a suspect who was accused of unlawful sexual activity with a minor.”

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Osceola County Sheriff Marcos Lopez says they first learned about the conduct around April 20. Since then, Dominguez has been relieved from his duties during the investigation.

He’s charged with unlawfully interfering with an investigation, in reference to a suspect out of Okeechobee County.

Lopez says that suspect, Omar Ayala, was a childhood friend of the now former deputy. Ayala is still on the run.

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“When one of my deputies violates the law, it feels personal to me because my deputy didn’t just commit a crime, he violated public trust in the trust of all other hard-working and dedicated members of the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office,” Sheriff Lopez said during a news conference announcing the arrest.

Deputies say they were tipped off after a complaint from an Okeechobee County detective who saw that Dominguez had run his friend’s name through a law enforcement database several times.

Ayala, a high school coach in Okeechobee, was wanted for allegedly having sex with a student.

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Dominguez told investigators he searched Ayala’s name after a traffic stop, which he later admitted was a lie.

“His intentions were to protect a childhood friend,” Sheriff Lopez said. “They grew up together. Is that an excuse? No. Because look at the type of crime that he’s been accused of...as law enforcement, you’re supposed to keep children safe.”

Investigators say Dominguez’ tip allowed Ayala to escape. Sheriff Lopez says he believes Ayala has left the state. His capture is now in the hands of The U.S. Marshalls Office.

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