An Enterprise police officer is in custody after being arrested Oct. 16 in connection with multiple sex charges involving children under the age of 12.
Tomas Arias, 36, a field training officer who has served with the EPD since 2007, is charged with 14 felony charges to include parents permitting children to engage in production of obscene matter, production of obscene matter containing visual depiction of persons under the age of 17, persons under the age of 17 involved in obscene acts, first-degree sodomy and sexual abuse of victims less than 12 years old.
At a press conference held Friday, Oct. 16, Enterprise Interim Police Chief Michael Moore announced that Arias was 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.
“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,” Moore said. “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 he SBI, the 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,” Moore said.