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FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) — A Broward County Sheriff’s deputy is behind bars for allegedly molesting a young girl almost 20 years ago.

Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies, along with deputies from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, arrested 58-year-old Verol Cowans, of Port St. Lucie, on four counts of sexual battery on a person under 12 years of age. Investigators said he molested a girl that lived with him for approximately five years while they lived in West Palm Beach.

According to the arrest report, the person making the accusations is a 28-year-old mother. She told deputies Cowans sexually battered her as a young girl. It started when she was seven and lasted until she was eleven. Back then, she believed he was a police officer because he drove a marked BSO car and wore a law enforcement uniform. This made her intimidated to come forward about what happened.

Verol Cowens (PBSO)

The woman said Cowans used to drive her to school and would inappropriately touch her underneath her skirt, according to the arrest affidavit. He told her, “Don’t tell anyone. Keep it between us.”

According to the affidavit, Cowans also forced her to perform oral sex on him and he would perform oral sex on her when the girl’s mother would leave the house. He later would make her watch pornographic videos with him, said the report. The woman said Cowans tried to have sex with her as well. During one instance, the girl’s mother unexpectedly returned home after 15 minutes and the girl was forced to hide behind the refrigerator naked.

During a 40-minute conversation between the woman and Cowans, she told him, “if my child was to go through the same things that I went through, it’s just unimaginable,” the report stated.

“The sexual battery charges Cowans is facing are very disturbing, and I demand lawful, honorable conduct from all BSO employees,” Sheriff Gregory Tony said. “Any employee found guilty of a criminal offense, especially as it relates to the nature of these allegations, will be permanently removed from service.”

According to BSO, Cowans has been suspended without pay.

Cowans was originally hired as a BSO detention deputy in February 2005 and retired for personal reasons in June 2011. Cowans was rehired as a detention deputy in February 2013.

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