Reaction To Jacksonville Police Officer Arrest - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

2/9/06-Jacksonville

Reaction To Jacksonville Police Officer Arrest

The city of Jacksonville was stunned as word spread of a local police officer accused of sexual assault while on duty. Larry Pugh left court yesterday after pleading not guilty to all five federal charges he's facing. When the allegations of the sexual assaults became public, local residents were  stunned.

Jimmie Hail lives in Jacksonville.  He said, "It's a shame, because it's a bad reflection on the police department, and its a bad reflection on the community as a whole."

The Jacksonville Police Department couldn't be reached for an interview, but a statement issued by the Police Chief Mark Johnson said, "I have always made it clear that this administration will not tolerate any form of misconduct either to the public or to other officers by its employees."

If Pugh is convicted on all five charges, he could be sentenced to five years in federal prison. Many say that seems too lenient.

 Christen Nelson works in Jacksonville.  She said, "With him being in the position that he was in, I think he should get more than that."

Elmer Beckworth, the Cherokee County DA, says Pugh could also face additional charges and jail time on the state level.

"What we do depends on what the U.S. Attorney's Office does. I was in contact with the U.S. Attorneys Office yesterday, and our main goal is not to do anything that will hamper or delay the federal prosecution," Beckworth said.

The DA is not saying how long it will be before they decide whether to file formal charges.

Lindsay Wilcox, reporting: lwilcox@kltv.com

 

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