Rick Ferguson was a member of the Boulder Sheriff's Office for thirty years -- an impressive run by any measure. But it's come to an end, at least for now, and in an extremely distressing way.
This week, Ferguson was arrested on five counts, most pertaining to Internet luring of a child.
At this point, the arrest affidavit in the Ferguson case has been sealed, and the sheriff's office is declining to detail the case against him. That leaves us with the basic outlines of the accusations. On November 17, sheriff's office reps were contacted by a Boulder County Information Technology staffer who'd noticed what's described as "unusual activity" on the computer in his patrol car -- an unbelievably boneheaded move for a veteran law enforcer, who presumably had to know that activity on the device is closely monitored.
Said "unusual activity" is a euphemism, because, in this case, he'd apparently been communicating with girls said to be fifteen or younger in a sexually explicit way.
That led to a search warrant for Ferguson's home computer, No revelations thus far about what was discovered there. But he turned himself in on Tuesday morning and appeared in court later that day on five charges: two counts of Internet luring of a child, and one count apiece of Internet sexual exploitation of a child, obscenity and second degree official misconduct. The first four are felonies.
Ferguson's already made a brief appearance before a judge; today, according to the Boulder Daily Camera, he'll likely be transferred to the Broomfield jail in anticipation of his next trip to court.
In the meantime, Boulder Sheriff Joe Pelle has issued the following statement about the bust:
"It is sad and demoralizing when we have to arrest one of our own deputies. Fortunately, it is also a rare occasion. Deputy Ferguson has been a loyal and long-term employee at the sheriff's office. We were shocked to learn what was occurring, but also quick and decisive to investigate and seek prosecution. We are a "Character First" organization, and the alleged actions of this deputy have violated our core values and the public trust. They do not represent the values of the almost 400 employees at the Boulder County Sheriff's Office. I am confident that accountability and openness in the handling of this matter will ensure the continued public trust and support of this office."
It would be understandable if the public's confidence would be a bit shaky these days, given the attention garnered by the scandal involving ex-Arapahoe County Sheriff Pat Sullivan. It's been a tough stretch for sheriff's departments around here.
Here's a larger look at Ferguson's mug shot.
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