Manatee Sheriff's lieutenant charged with molesting child - WNCT

Manatee Sheriff's lieutenant charged with molesting child

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MANATEE COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

A Manatee Sheriff's Office lieutenant is facing charges of child molestation in connection with a case that's been going on for almost a year.

The Sheriff's Office received information about alleged instances of Lt. Dale Couch, 50, inappropriately touching a juvenile in July of 2012.

After a lengthy investigation by MSO and the State Attorney's Office, charges were not filed.  Couch was on routine suspension and returned to work when the investigation was completed. 

On March 25, 2013, MSO received additional information in connection with this case.  The investigation was reopened, and once again forwarded to the SAO, who decided charges would be filed. 

Couch was arrested Thursday and charged with three counts of lewd and lascivious molestation on a child. 

The Sheriff's Office says the proposed discipline against Couch is termination, but he has a right to a hearing which is set for next week.  Until that time, he is suspended without pay. 

Couch was hired in 1993 and was assigned to the Patrol Division. 

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