Sheriff, documents reveal reasons why Catoosa County detectives resigned
Sheriff Gary Sisk said Detective Tim Deal and Lt. Freddie Roden admitted to having inappropriate relationships with witnesses to crimes they were investigating.
The Catoosa County Sheriff Gary Sisk revealed new details about the resignation of two veteran detectives.
The sheriff said Detective Tim Deal and Lt. Freddie Roden admitted to having inappropriate relationships with witnesses to crimes they were investigating.
The sheriff called it a moral issue.
He said the inappropriate relationships did not damage evidence in the cases, but one defense attorney involved says it creates bias.
Detective Deal and Lt. Roden were with the Catoosa County Sheriff's Office for more than 15 years. They investigated child crimes.
"I can't look a victim in the eye if I assign one of them to that case and say we're going forward with our best foot forward because we now have that hurdle to have to overcome," Sheriff Gary Sisk of the Catoosa County Sheriff's Office said.
Internal Affairs documents obtained by Channel 3 show Detective Deal started a relationship with a female witness after a trial ended in 2016.
That woman's husband told the sheriff's office the detective harassed him several times with a spoofed number and that Deal talked about pending criminal cases.
The DA's office concluded the relationship was not illegal but was morally wrong.
"This can now bring about questions about their morality that a defense attorney could bring up that could very well put a doubt in a juror's mind," Sheriff Sisk said.
IA documents said Lt. Freddie Roden dated the mother of a victim in a case he was investigating in 2015. Roden was reprimanded, suspended, and placed on probation for a year.
Sheriff Sisk explained why he wasn't fired then.
"We had criminal cases that needed to take certain steps and move forward including the case that he was actually had the indiscretions in," Sheriff Sisk said.
Roden was told he would be let go if he rekindled the relationship.
"The issues that led to this detective's departure from the sheriff's department have everything to do with bias in the investigation," McCracken Poston, a defense attorney said.
Poston represents a man who faces charges in a case Roden investigated. It has not gone to trial.
Sheriff Sisk said what happened to the two detectives could be used as a lesson in future ethics training at the Sheriff's Office.
"I hate that for the officers. I hate it for our agency, and I hate it for our community to have to deal with it; but, I guess the one thing I would say is that we did deal with it," Sheriff Sisk said.
Lt. Roden did not want to comment on why he resigned. Detective Deal could not be reached.
The sheriff said the cases they were investigating have been re-assigned.