Alleged child predator held on $1.5 million bond

A former deputy sheriff with the Indian River County Sheriff’s Department, who has been living in St. Augustine, is in custody today in lieu of bonds totaling $1.5 million dollars, according to records received by Historic City News this morning.

James H. Scharfschwerdt, was arrested by detectives with the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office Special Victims Unit and the C.O.P.S. Unit at his residence located at 670 Kinlaw Road. He has been charged with three counts of lewd and lascivious battery against a child.

The 53 year-old St. Johns County man became the subject of investigation six months ago when a juvenile boy reported to detectives that Scharfschwerdt engaged in sexual activity with one of his juvenile friends several years ago.

The investigation revealed that on three occasions, Scharfschwerdt allegedly furnished the victim with alcoholic beverages and then allegedly committed sex acts against him.

In the course of the investigation, detectives learned that Scharfschwerdt was a former police officer and had been investigated in south Florida and arrested in 1988 for similar allegations brought by numerous victims. Scharfschwerdt was acquitted in the 1988 case.

While in our area, Scharfschwerdt has been a high profile fishing enthusiast, active in the Southern Kingfish Association and a retailer, managing the operation of “All About Boats” and Specialty Marine Products Inc., both in St. Augustine and Jacksonville.

For two years beginning in January 1994, Scharfschwerdt was Director and President of St. Johns Marine Group, Inc., which was dissolved in August, 1996. In 2005, Scharfschwerdt was a managing partner in Wound Tight Fishing Team, LLC, which was dissolved just over a year ago. In 2006, he formed Marker Seven Corporation; a marine finance company that specialized in boat loans — it was dissolved two months ago.

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