Bartow Police arrested resigned Polk County deputy Mark Hicks Friday, August 23, 2013, charging him with Use Computer to Solicit Minor to Commit/Lewd (F-3), Exposing a Minor to Harmful Material (F-3), Tampering/Destroy Evidence (F-3), and Battery, (M-1).
Late Thursday evening, August 22, 2013, the Bartow Police Department received information about an adult male sending lewd images and messages to a 17-year-old female.
Through their investigation Bartow detectives learned the victim had visited 40-year-old Hicks’ residence on or about August 7th. The victim told detectives while visiting, Hicks had kissed and fondled her over her clothes without her consent. The victim told detectives she separated herself from Hicks and left the residence.
According to the Bartow Police Department’s affidavit, later that day and during the following day, Hicks used a cell phone to send lewd messages to the victim to include images of his torso and penis. In turn, Hicks asked the victim to send him “a pic of herself.” The victim believed this to be images which were sexual in nature.
Late Friday, August 23rd, Bartow Police detectives made contact with Hicks at his residence where Hicks was advised of the investigation. Hicks was asked to accompany the detective to the Bartow Police Department to be interviewed regarding the allegations. Hicks agreed. Post Miranda Hicks confessed to kissing and hugging the victim, and to sending lewd images to her.
Hicks’ supervisor, PCSO Captain Loyd Stewart was notified of the arrest and responded to the Police Department. As standard procedure during an arrest, Hicks was being detained in a holding cell at the Bartow Police Department as the arrest affidavit was being completed, along with the collection and inventory of his personal property.
As this process was occurring, knowing there would be another cell check in 10 minutes, Hicks quickly took the waistband from his boxer shorts and fashioned a noose which he tied to the cell door. Hicks then attempted to hang himself inside the holding cell.
Six minutes after last checking on Hicks, Bartow Police Department Sergeant David A. Wyant, and Captain Stewart found Hicks and immediately began life saving measures. Captain Stewart administered CPR. Hicks was transported to Bartow Regional Medical Center where he was medically cleared.
Captain Stewart obtained Hicks’ immediate resignation. Hicks was transported to the Polk County Jail. He is currently being held in the Crisis Stabilization Unit.
At the time of the alleged incident, Hicks’ assignment was as a patrol deputy in the Central District. His annual salary was $41,248.69.
Hicks was arrested in 2004 for a misdemeanor contempt of court, violation of injunction charge resulting from a child custody dispute. This arrest was later no-billed and Hicks was awarded custody of his biological children in December 2005.