Manatee sheriff’s lieutenant arrested on child molestation charges

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UPDATE: Bond was not set. The judge wants to consider evidence prosecution claims makes Couch a danger to the community. He will have another first appearance tomorrow at 8 a.m.

BRADENTON, FL. – A Manatee County Sheriff’s lieutenant has been charged with Lewd and Lascivious Molestation on a Child.

On July 25, 2012, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office received information of alleged criminal acts of inappropriate touching of a juvenile against 50-year-old Lt. Dale Couch.

After a lengthy investigation by the sheriff’s office and the State Attorney’s Office, the S.A.O. decided not to charge Couch.

Couch was on routine suspension and returned to work when the investigation was completed.

According to the December 2012 State Attorney's report that cleared Couch of any wrongdoing, the children involved are two girls, ages 9 and 12. They are believed to be sisters. We still arent 100 % certain if those girls are related to Couch.

On March 25, 2013, the sheriff’s office received additional information in connection with the case. The investigation was re-opened and once again forwarded to the State Attorney’s Office, who decided charges would be filed.

Couch was arrested Thursday and charged with 3 counts of Lewd and Lascivious Molestation on a Child.

The proposed discipline against Couch is termination, however, under state law he has a right to a hearing which is set for next week. Until that time, he is suspended without pay.

Couch was hired in 1993 and was assigned to the Patrol Division.