Walton County Sheriff’s Office sex scandal was among the most read Northwest Florida Daily News stories of 2019.
Five Walton County Sheriff’s Office employees lost their jobs in January due to their entanglement in a sex scandal.
Communications Officer Mikaylah Coone, Sgt. Justin Tisdale, Inv. Aaron Ethridge and deputies Austin Bailey and Matt Williams were all notified Jan. 24 that they had been terminated.
The story was among the most viewed by Northwest Florida Daily News readers.
Tisdale, Bailey and Williams engaged in extra-marital affairs with Coone between September and November of 2018, a Sheriff’s Office internal investigation found.
All four were cited for having an inappropriate relationship. Sheriff’s Office regulations require employees to report having a relationship with a fellow employee, and none of those involved did so, the investigative report said.
Etheridge was dating Coone at the time she was having the affairs. He was fired for threatening fellow employees and their families after learning what was happening behind his back, the report said.
“None of those people should have been the least bit surprised,” to have lost their jobs, Walton County Sheriff Michael Adkinson said after the firings. “I’ve never been unclear about my expectations for conduct.”
Coone was also cited for dishonesty. She denied having sex with Wiliams or Tisdale, though both men admitted their affairs with her.
The sex scandal was unveiled in late December of 2018 when Bailey’s wife discovered Coone had been speaking to her husband and notified Ethridge, Coone’s boyfriend.
Ethridge began calling the wife and texting messages she took to be threats, the report said. Bailey also reported receiving threats.
Another deputy who had a sexual relationship with Coone in 2017, and reported it to superiors, reported being threatened by Ethridge. He was not disciplined.