At about 11:00 a.m. Friday, Historic City News was informed that a St Johns County major crimes detective, 52-year-old Jeffrey Lewis Cook, has been arrested and charged with lewd & lascivious molestation. As of Monday morning, Cook remains in custody for the second-degree felony, in lieu of $150,000 bond.
Cook was arrested at work and fired in response to the allegations, authorities said Friday. He could face up to 15-years in prison, if convicted. Cook appeared distraught in court Saturday morning during his first appearance hearing as the charges against him were read, including allegations that he fondled a young girl between 12-years-old and 16-years-old.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, a criminal complaint was filed against Cook. The 17-year veteran was placed under arrest following an investigation into lewd and lascivious molestation, which is said to have occurred over the course of six years.
“Detectives are still investigating,” was the comment from Chuck Mulligan.
Investigators added, “there were no indications of any other victims.” It is not clear how a six-year investigation that culminates in an arrest needs further “investigation” if there are no other victims?
In a post-event crisis control statement for the struggling sheriff, Shoar stated, “This incident involves one individual, it is not reflective of our agency or this honorable profession.” Shoar’s judgment has
This wasn’t the first time Cook was fired from the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office. In 1994, Cook was responding to a vandalism complaint when he got into an altercation with an African American man who was carrying a gun in his waistband.
Cook sprayed the man with a less-lethal chemical agent to bring him and the firearm under control. At the time, Cook said that he did not know the man was an off-duty agent with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
After the NAACP contacted former Sheriff Neil Perry about the confrontation, Cook was fired. According to documents, Cook sued the Sheriff’s Office claiming he was wrongfully terminated. In 1995, he was reinstated with back pay. Then in a strange twist, Cook voluntarily resigned, only to be re-hired by Sherriff David Shoar on August 7, 2006.
During the time that Shoar says Cook was under investigation, he was serving as a deputy in the tax collector’s office. Then, in 2018, Shoar gave him a $7,000 pay raise and promotion to major crimes detective where he began earning $61,839.00 per year.