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Clay deputy reprimanded after criticizing State Attorney Angela Corey

Posted: August 24, 2014 - 7:23pm  |  Updated: August 24, 2014 - 8:12pm

A Clay County deputy has been given a written reprimand for implying that his criticisms of State Attorney Angela Corey had the support of Sheriff Rick Beseler.

Deputy Charlie Welch sent a 12-page letter to Gov. Rick Scott that complained about how Corey runs her office. He was previously an investigator for Corey and her predecessor, Harry Shorstein, from March 1998 until November 2012.

Under Sheriff’s Office policies, Welch is allowed to criticize public officials. But he was suspended with pay last month after a television reporter told Clay County officials that Welch said his letter had been sanctioned by Beseler.

Welch was suspended with pay while the allegation was investigated. Welch told internal affairs officers that he hadn’t told reporters that the letter had Beseler’s support. He said the reporter must have misunderstood him.

According to the WJXT TV-4 reporter, he asked Welch if he was going to get in trouble with Beseler, and Welch replied that the sheriff told him he knew about the letter.

Welch said he had responded that “everybody knows about it,” but he was specifically referring to an allegation in the letter of a sexual encounter at the State Attorney’s Office between a supervisor and a member of the clerical staff. The reporter misunderstood that to mean that Beseler knew about the letter, Welch said.

Internal affairs recommended that Welch be sanctioned for authoring a statement on behalf of the sheriff without authorization.

Spokeswoman Mary Justino said Welch was reprimanded and returned to duty Aug. 18.

Corey spokeswoman Jackelyn Barnard said the issue was between the Clay County Sheriff’s Office and one of its employees.


Larry Hannan: (904) 359-4470

Comments (9)

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Morris_reader 08/25/14 - 12:49 pm

I am glad that the deputy is

I am glad that the deputy is back at work. Thank you for your courage to speak the truth and report abuse.

It seems amazing that some elected officials can behave so despondently without any regard for public perception. We are paying these people and deserve better. I will be glad when gov Scott gets voted out so that perhaps the new governor will demand more integrity in Jacksonville. Both Cory and clay county sheriff should be fired for punishing an employee for seeking accountability.

Howard 08/25/14 - 10:38 am
Premium Member

I'm glad someone finally

I'm glad someone finally stood up to Corey's bullying and unethical treatment. I hope to read more follow up about the contents of the letter to Governor Scott.

MyaPinion 08/25/14 - 09:33 am
Premium Member

Why is this written about

Why is this written about without an attachment of the letter. I mean really since there was no violations by this officer and entitlement to free speech then why cant the people see this letter. Apparently FTU got it to write this article.

Here within the next few weeks I know of another letter going out to the public it will have all attachments with the evidence supporting the timeline and allegations.It will be addressed to public agency officials with specific detail pointing out their minion agents of those agencies.

lilrio 08/25/14 - 08:03 am
Premium Member

I would like to see the

I would like to see the contents of the letter the Deputy sent to the governor. If the Deputy previously worked under Shorstein and then Corey there must be some merit to the letter. It takes great courage for the Deputy to do what he did risking his job and career. Glad to see the Deputy back at work.

Redrover 08/25/14 - 07:25 am
Premium Member

Time for Beseler to go back

Time for Beseler to go back to his farm near Tallahassee after all that is where he spends most of his time as an absentee Sheriff of Clay County.

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