A Department of Children and Families employee and her husband are accused of repeatedly sexually battering a 13-year-old girl over a period of 10 months, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.
Sarah Adams, 34, was arrested Tuesday on charges of sexual battery on a minor, lewd and lascivious battery, child neglect and failure to report suspected child abuse, deputies said.
Her husband, Thomas Adams, 33, was arrested that same day on two counts of sexual battery of a minor and single counts of lewd and lascivious battery and using a computer to solicit a child, deputies said.
The arrest report said Sarah Adams is an administrative assistant with the Department of Children and Families, the state’s child welfare agency that investigates allegations of abuse and neglect. Under Florida law, she is required to report any allegations of child abuse or neglect — just like a healthcare professional, teacher or law enforcement officer.
The abuse started in February 2019, according to the Sheriff’s Office, when Thomas Adams forced the girl to watch pornography and perform sexual acts on him. The girl told him “no” on several occasions, deputies said, but he ignored her and the abuse continued into December.
In order “to show appreciation” for her sexual acts, deputies said the husband would give the teen a marijuana vape pen to smoke.
The wife was aware that the girl was being sexually battered, deputies said, then joined in the assaults in November of that year.
The Sheriff’s Office did not say when the allegations were reported. But after they were, deputies said they arranged for the girl and the husband to speak in a recorded phone call. He admitted to the sexual battery, addressed her pregnancy concerns and apologized to the girl, according to the arrest report.
Deputies said they also examined several cell phones and found that the couple communicated about the allegations with the girl via text.
Sarah Adams’ position at the state agency, and her failure to report the abuse in a “timely” manner, according to the arrest report, led to the charge of failing to report child abuse or neglect.
Department of Children and Families officials on Friday said they would issue a statement about Adams, but had not released one as of Friday evening. Her employment status at the agency was unclear.
The Sheriff’s Office asked that a high bail be set for the couple because of “the severity of the charges and the defendant’s contact with other juveniles due to her employment.”
Thomas Adams was being held Friday in the Pasco County jail in lieu of $200,000 bail. Sarah Adams is being held in lieu of $370,000 bail.