Flagler County, Florida — Sheriff Rick Staly took swift action after it was discovered that one of his deputies had been harassing and stalking victims.
The first victim, a 67-year-old Palm Coast man, had been the victim of an assault and battery at the hands of his neighbor. During that case, Deputy Dedorious Varnes responded to the call and took the complaint.
The victim had been beaten by his neighbor who had accused him of “looking like a racist.”
Varnes later informed the neighbor that the victim was planning to press charges.
Immediately after leaving the scene, Varnes began calling the victim from a blocked number. During the phone calls, Varnes threatened the victim and warned him not to press charges and drop the case.
According to the arrest affidavit, Varnes made more than 50 threatening phone calls to the victim between March and May of 2020.
Sheriff Staly said it was even more disturbing that Varnes met with the victim numerous times to take complaints about the phone calls.
“The fact that he looked this victim in the eye and listened to just how upset these phone calls were making him and then continued to call him, again and again, is an indicator that [Varnes] has a serious problem,” said Sheriff Staly. He went on to say, “This is an instance of a rogue officer tarnishing the badge.”
The victim thought that it was the neighbor making the calls.
Varnes was arrested First arrested on July 3 and charged with Aggravated Stalking. But it does not end there.
During the investigation, detectives learned that Varnes had installed the “Text Now” app and had been using it to harass another victim who had filed a complaint against him for being rude and unprofessional.
In the text messages, Varnes would tell the victim that [he] was having an affair with his wife. Additionally, Varnes would send the victim photos of his own home.
The victim became suspicious when his surveillance video captured the deputy driving past his home multiple times. Many of those times coincided with when the victim had received text messages.
A search of the “Text Now” app also revealed other victims, two women, who Varnes had been stalking.
Additional charges of Aggravated Stalking were then filed against the deputy.
Varnes resigned on August 4 after being placed on unpaid leave pending termination.
On August 27, a new warrant was signed for Varnes’ arrest. He was taken into custody a short time later and charged with Aggravated Stalking, he was released from the Sheriff Perry Hall Inmate Detention Facility on a $25,000 bond.
Sheriff Staly, said, “I will not tolerate this type of behavior from my deputies at my agency.”