PORT RICHEY — A recently discharged military police officer was arrested by Pasco County sheriff’s deputies who said he used an anonymous phone application to contact and then sexually batter a 12-year-old girl.
Tyler James Dempsey, 23, of Spring Hill was arrested on a felony charge of sexual battery of a victim age 12 or under on Tuesday.
Dempsey told deputies he was discharged from the Army and had been stationed in Germany. The identity of the girl was withheld by deputies.
Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco discussed the arrest at a Wednesday news conference. He said on Saturday evening, Dempsey contacted the girl and two of her friends through the phone app, Whisper, asking if they "wanted to party."
The three girls told Dempsey they were 15 years old, the arrest report said, and he told them he was 23. He picked up the girls in a silver sport-utility vehicle and drove them to an apartment at 12319 Little Road, deputies said. Inside, the report said, they smoked marijuana.
The sheriff said Dempsey then used street slang — which the 12-year-old girl didn’t understand — to ask if she wanted to have sex. They went to the back porch, according to the arrest report, and he sexually battered her.
Afterward, Dempsey drove the three back to the 12-year-old’s home.
At first Dempsey denied meeting up with anyone, deputies said, but eventually he admitted to sexually battering the girl. He told deputies he did not know she was 12, and instead believed she was 18.
Nocco said the girl told her school counselor Monday about the incident with Dempsey, which launched the investigation.
"For this young little girl, this changed her life," Nocco said. "For any victim of sexual battery, it’s not your fault.
"You were taken advantage of .?.?. The best way you can get justice is to notify somebody."
Dempsey was being held Wednesday in the Pasco County jail in lieu of $50,000 bail.
Contact TyLisa C. Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @tylisajohnson.