VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A former correctional officer has been arrested for the sexual assault of a minor, under the age of 13, Virginia Beach Police say.
On Friday, February 7, officers arrested 22-year-old Tyree Ernest Jefferson of Chesapeake and charged him with forcible sodomy, rape, taking indecent liberties with a child, object sexual penetration and aggravated sexual battery, according to Tonya Borman with the Virginia Beach Police Department.
The victim told detectives the assaults happened between December 2013 and January 2014. Borman said the investigation by the Virginia Beach Special Victim’s Unit determined the suspect and victim met online before meeting in person.
Police said Jefferson used an alias to meet a 12-year-old Virginia Beach girl online. The lead detective would not say which Internet site they used, but confirmed they exchanged emails before meeting in person. The detective also would not elaborate on how many times the suspect and victim met or where the sexual encounters happened.
Lisa Kinney with the Virginia Department of Corrections told WAVY.com Jefferson worked as a correctional officer at the St. Bride’s Correctional Center from February 2013 to February 2014. Before that he worked at Augusta Correctional Center from October 2011 to December 2012. But now, the man once charged with overseeing criminals is charged with crimes himself.
Kinney would not say if Jefferson was terminated or if he resigned, and she would not say if he had been transferred between the two correctional facilities.
WAVY.com stopped by Jefferson’s Chesapeake apartment, where neighbors said he lives with a girlfriend and his young daughter. No one answered Jefferson’s door.
His next door neighbor called the arrest “shocking.”
“Kind of a little worrying, seeing as he’s been living next door to me the whole time and I never even knew,” said Amanda Jando, who lives next door and has a young daughter.
Jando said she only sees Jefferson in passing, usually when he’s headed to or from work.
“It’s good to know now especially since I have a daughter,” said Jando. “She’s young but there are men out there who don’t care at all how young your child is.”
Jefferson has no criminal record. He is being held in the Virginia Beach Correctional Center without bond, and declined 10 On Your Side’s request for a jailhouse interview Wednesday.
The arrest happened February 7, but police did not release the information until Wednesday because that is when a media outlet asked about the case.
Borman said investigators believe Jefferson may have had other victims, and they are trying to identify them. If you know anything that could help the investigation, please call the Virginia Beach Detective Bureau at 757-385-4101.