Former Florala police officer arrested in a sexual predator sting
by Jan Allred
Former Florala Police Officer, Todd Monroe Spikes, who was arrested during a sexual predator sting conducted by Dateline NBC and the online watchdog group Perverted Justice.com in December, 2006 is still fighting for his freedom.
Spikes allegedly drove from his home in DeFuniak Springs, FL to Flagler Beach, FL for a sexual encounter with what he thought was a 13-year-old girl named Lindsey. Dateline, Perverted Justice and the Flagler Beach Police Department conducted a four day sting operation arresting a total of 21 men, some who drove up to seven hours to reach their destination.
The men chatted online with what they thought were teenagers but in actuality were adults.
Initially all of the men arrested during the sting pled not guilty. During the three years since their arrests, most have been sentenced to either probation or prison. However, Spikes remains one of the few with a case still pending.
According to an incident report released by the Flagler Beach Police Department, there were 119 pages of online chat sessions between Spikes and “Lindsay” filled with sexually explicit content.
During those online chat sessions, Spikes informed “Lindsay” that if their relationship was discovered “it would be a death sentence since inmates did not like police officers.”
When Spikes arrived at the decoy house in Flagler Beach he never exited the vehicle, but simply drove off. A Flagler Beach police officer pulled him over a few blocks away and it was during this stop that officers found an arsenal of weapons and photography equipment inside his vehicle.
According to the incident/offense report, officers found a fully loaded .38 caliber handgun in Spikes’ front pocket.
Spikes was previously employed with the DeFuniak Springs Police Department and Walton County Sheriff’s Office. He was working at the Florala Police Department at the time of his arrest.
Then Florala Chief of Police Bruce Maddox was called by the the Flagler Beach police chief and advised of the circumstances surrounding Spikes’ arrest. Maddox fired Spikes, who was still on probation with the department, and told the Flagler authorities that there was not any duty related reason for Spikes to be carry around the massive firepower that was found in his vehicle.
According to reports, Spikes was recently offered a plea deal that would have required probation without prison time but he rejected the deal because he would be required to register as a sex offender. Daytona Beach Attorney Ted Zentner, who represents Spikes said having to register as a sex offender is a permanent sanction.
“It never ends. You have to think long and hard whether you want that sanction.
That sexual offender status is horrible.”
Zentner said there were other ways to educate the public about Internet crime rather than “humiliate people on national TV when they haven’t even had a trial by jury.”
Zentner also had an explanation for the guns found in Spikes’ car stating that his client was a police officer who carried them because of his job.
Zentner feels he should be able to question Dateline journalist Chris Hansen, who confronted the men with their chat log and questions them as to their intentions. The defense also has a right to know how the show is conducted, who gets paid, who the sponsors are, who they get their technical advise from and other things pertinent to the defense “They wouldn’t be showing this if they weren’t making money,” Zentner said. “If their ratings weren’t going up, they wouldn’t be showing
this show.” He did get to schedule depositions for two women who posed as minors in the chat room.
Spikes is charged with attempted lewd or lascivious battery, lewd or lascivious exhibition and computer pornography and child exploitation.
No trial date has been set.