Charges dropped against former officer.

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BY ADAM LINHARDT
Citizen Staff
March 27, 2015

Prosecutors on Thursday dismissed all child molestation charges against former Key West police officer Henry Florentino Arroyo. The state charged Arroyo, 42, in March 2014 with two charges of second- degree felony lewd and lascivious exhibition of a child younger than16 and one count of lewd and lascivious molestation of a child younger than 12 last year. He was facing life in prison if he had been convicted of the last charge.

“The (alleged) victim’s parents requested the state discontinue the prosecution of this case, because the parents believe it is in the child’s best interests,” reads a court document filed by Assistant State Attorney Val Winter. “The guardian ad litem (a child’s legal advo- cate) appointed to represent the child’s best interests concurs with this request.”

Arroyo’s lawyer, Jerry Ballarotto, declined to comment.

“Although we may want to prosecute offenders, parents have their children’s best interest at heart,” said Monroe County State Attorney Catherine Vogel. “These parents have decided it is in the best interest of their child to discontinue this prosecution and we have been unsuccessful in convincing them otherwise.”

Winter declined to comment on the case and Vogel declined to comment further.

Arroyo was released from Monroe County Detention Center on Stock Island on March 24, 2014 after posting $100,000 bail after his arrest. Arroyo was placed on paid administrative leave on Dec. 17, 2013 pending the outcome of a joint criminal investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Department of Children and Families and the State Attorney’s Office.
He resigned from the force on Feb. 6, 2014.

Whether Arroyo will re- apply for his job with Key West police was not clear Thursday.

“To my knowledge, Henry Arroyo has not applied,” said Key West police spokeswoman Alyson Crean. “If he does, the decision will be considered at that time, according to the hiring process of the department.”

Arroyo had been working as the school resource officer at Key West High School, but was removed from that position when he was placed on leave. Arroyo also was a former board member for the Police Athletic League (PAL) — a police-oriented juvenile program that uses sports and recreation as a crime-prevention tool.

There was never any evidence or allegations in court records that alleged any criminal activity by Arroyo within either of those organizations.

alinhardt@keysnews.com

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