MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A veteran Miami-Dade police sergeant bonded out of jail and is now under house arrest. James H. Edwards III is facing charges after allegedly bringing a teenage boy to his home and trying to take advantage of him.
Edwards is accused of giving a 15-year-old boy drugs and alcohol, then touching the boy and masturbating in front of him, according to the arrest affidavit.
The report says Edwards knows the teen’s mom.
Edwards, 47, has been a part of the Miami-Dade police force for 27 years. His personnel file showed few disciplinary actions in his career.
His file shows outstanding performance evaluations and numerous commendations – from certificates, to handwritten letters of thanks.
Edwards did receive a five day suspension after an incident in 2013 when he was accused of violating police department rules by issuing traffic tickets while not on duty and failing to document them.
His disciplinary file also noted an incident in 2012. It said he became angry with a supervisor and “stormed out of his office.” He’s accused of slamming the door so hard it damaged the wall, “leaving a gaping hole.”
Other notations in the file included failing to write a report and failing to notify a supervisor about an incident.
He was charged with lewd and lascivious conduct, lewd and lascivious exhibition, violation of a protection of minors law – prohibiting of certain acts in connection with obscenity, and contributing to the delinquency or dependency of a child.
He appeared in court Wednesday and was granted bond for $85,500. Edwards now must wait for his trial under house arrest and a judge ruling will prohibit him from accessing the internet or having any contact with minors.
According to the arrest report, Edwards brought the victim to his home to help with some landscape work, picking the boy up in his patrol car while wearing his police uniform.
After arriving at his home, Edwards allegedly offered the teen a cup of “honey whiskey” before serving himself a cup as well. The two went outside to work on Edwards’ landscaping.
Once finished, Edwards and the teen went back into the home where he again allegedly provided the boy with a cup of the whiskey. Edwards then took out some marijuana and placed it on a bong, telling the teen to “tear it up,” according to the report.
The report then says: Edwards went upstairs and returned with two pills known to the teen as Molly, told the victim to take the pill and he did, after which Edwards took the second pill while the boy watched.
The two then went into the living room where Edwards began playing pornographic videos on his television, moved himself closer to the teen and began to touch the boy’s arms, chest and back, stated the report.
According to the report: the victim became uncomfortable and moved away from Edwards, who then masturbated over the shorts he was wearing. Edwards then allegedly asked the boy to go upstairs with him and perform oral sex.
The victim did report the incident to the police.
The victim called Edwards while police secretly monitored the call and police say Edwards admitted to the crimes. Additionally, Edwards was also arrested for a separate case where he’s accused of watching pornography and giving drugs to the accuser’s 16-year-old brother.
“I met him on a case where he was against me,” said Edwards’ lawyer Michael Catalano. “We became friends and (I) got to know (him,) and this just doesn’t look like anything he would do.”
Edwards has been relieved of duty, but will continue to be paid until formal charges are filed. A spokesman for the department where Edwards works, says he wants the public to know the Miami-Dade Police Department is taking the allegations seriously.
“It’s our commitment to the community, that we are there to protect the community and we are there to let the community know that the community can trust an officer,” said Det. Alvaro Zabaleta.
Edwards was assigned to the south district patrol area, which includes Kendall, Homestead and Florida City.
Police want to know if there are any other possible victims out there. If you have any information, call Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS.