A former Enterprise police officer is in a Dothan jail on $660,000 after being arrested Oct. 16 in connection with multiple sex charges involving children under the age of 12.
Tomas Antonio Arias, 35, of Enterprise was moved to the Houston County Jail following his arrest on
14 felony charges including parents or guardians permitting children to engage in production of obscene matter, production of obscene matter containing visual depiction of person under 17 years of age, first-degree sodomy and sexual abuse of a child less than 12 years old.
Bond for Arias was set by Coffee County District Judge Josh Wilson at a virtual 72-hour first appearance Monday, Oct. 19 held via internet due to COVID-19 constraints.
Bond was set at $60,000 for each of the eight Class A Felony charges and at $30,000 for each of the six Class B felony charges.
Arias is charged with six counts of sexual abuse of a child less than 12 years old, five counts of producing pornography with a minor and three counts of parents or guardians permitting children to engage in production of obscene matter.
At a press conference held Friday, Oct. 16, Enterprise Interim Police Chief Michael Moore announced that Arias, a field training officer who has served with the EPD since 2007, had been placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation after the initial allegations were made and has since been terminated.
Moore said that on Oct. 5 his office received “a very serious complaint” on Arias. “I immediately requested the State Bureau of Investigation to conduct a criminal investigation of these allegations. At the end of the same day, the SBI served a search warrant at the house of the officer and conducted interviews with this officer.”
Moore said Arias was immediately removed from duty and that on Oct. 8, at the completion of the police internal investigation, he was terminated.
“As of this time the SBI has placed Tomas Arias under arrest,” Moore said at the press conference held at the Enterprise City Hall Council Chambers at 4:45 p.m.
“The city of Enterprise and the Enterprise Police Department have and will continue to cooperate fully with the investigation and insure that justice is done,” Moore said. “We as police officers have sworn to protect those who cannot protect themselves and children are the most vulnerable of these.
“The actions of this single officer which occurred in his private life are not indicative of the city of Enterprise Police Department or the vast majority of law enforcement officers,” Moore said. “The anger and disappointment towards the unbecoming actions of one officer are echoed throughout the Enterprise Police Department as well as the law enforcement community.
“We are the keepers of the peace, defenders of the innocent, protectors of the weak and will continue to hold ourselves to a higher standard,” a visibly emotional Moore told those attending the press conference. “Those that cannot and are not willing to hold themselves to this higher standard of public service do not deserve and will not have the honor of serving the city of Enterprise.”
Moore praised the “young victims” for their “bravery and intestinal fortitude to recognize something that was not right and to contact a responsible adult to voice their fears.
“They have been exceptional witnesses throughout the process and we in law enforcement are proud of how well they have done as life warriors and survivors,” Moore added. “For the protection of the victims, let’s just leave it at the fact that they are under the age of 12.”
Moore thanked the SBI, Coffee County Sheriff’s Department and the Twelfth Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office for their assistance in the investigation.
“It’s been a long couple of weeks,” he added.