An Escambia County deputy has been found guilty of sex offenses against a juvenile victim. Jurors unanimously convicted Deputy Walter Michael Thomas, 45, of three felony counts of “unlawful sexual activity with certain minors.”
Deputy Walter Thomas, who is a SWAT team member at the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, faces 45 years in state prison.
The case centered around Deputy Thomas, along with Douglas and Leah Manning, joining together in a ‘foursome’ with a minor (Leah Manning is a former nurse for the Escambia County Jail). Though the Mannings and the victim recounted their sexual encounters with the jury, Deputy Thomas had denied everything. Another deputy, Deputy Mark Gene Smith, is also accused of the same crimes. He has been arrested and charged, and is currently awaiting a trial date.
According to the initial arrest reports, the Mannings are “swingers.” Leah Manning invited a minor victim into her bedroom to have sex with one of the deputies, while Doug Manning videotaped the threesome on his cell phone, according to the report. The deputy in question denied any knowledge or involvement when he was brought in for questioning.
It is interesting to note, that during the initial press conference conducted by Sheriff David Morgan, he cautioned the public not to jump to conclusions.
I want to caution everyone in a rush to judgments on these officers. I want to ensure that they are acquiring a due process like everyone else is through the court system.
I find it very ironic that when a police officer is accused of a crime, the police will band together in solidarity with the accused, asking the public not to rush to judgments. However, when the police kill a citizen, the first thing that is released is the victim’s criminal record, which is done in an effort to cause the public to ‘rush to judgments’.
As for Deputy Thomas, WEAR TV in Pensacola, Florida, has confirmed that the Deputy has NOT been terminated from his position yet, but supposedly, it is in the works.
You can read the public records related to Deputy Thomas by clicking here. Deputy Gene Smith’s case information is located here. If you would like more detailed information on the corruption in the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, I highly recommend reading this article.