Manatee County sergeant arrested after sex chat with undercover deputy posing as minor

Manatee County

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A sergeant with the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office was arrested Tuesday afternoon for discussing sexual acts with who he thought was a minor, but was really a Hillsborough County sheriff’s deputy.

According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, beginning on July 24, a HCSO detective was working undercover on a social media app when Sergeant Stephen Utter, 37, allegedly began a conversation with a “14-year-old girl.”

Utter was immediately made aware of the fictitious girls’ age.

During the conversations online and via text message, Utter sent explicit messages detailing the sexual acts he wished to perform on the juvenile.

When deputies advised the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office of the investigation, MCSO worked with HCSO to arrest Utter.

He was taken into custody afternoon at the Manatee County Fairgrounds during a work-related training exercise.

“The conduct of this sergeant is in no way a reflection of the thousands of deputies across Tampa Bay who are committed to serving their communities with integrity,” said Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister.

“We will not tolerate this predatory behavior from anyone, including a fellow law enforcement officer, as displayed by the quick actions both the Manatee and Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Offices took to arrest this individual.”

Utter has worked as a law enforcement officer in the Manatee County Jail since 2011.

He was booked into the jail on charges of unlawful use of a two-way communications device, transmission of harmful material to a minor and use of computer devices to solicit certain illegal acts.

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