Corrections Officer, Off-Duty Deputy Both Charged with Sex Crimes Within Days


Correction: This article has been edited to clarify that corrections officers are employees of Volusia County, not of the Volusia Sheriff's Office specifically. NewsDaytonaBeach regrets this error.


Two law enforcement officers have been arrested in recent days for separate sex crimes, as confirmed in statements by the Volusia Sheriff's Office and county government. A corrections officer was arrested for allegedly engaging in inappropriate relations with a female inmate, among other things, while an off-duty deputy is said to have held a victim against her will and threatened to arrest her if she did not sex with him, along with another incident that same day.

Misconduct in County Jail

43-year-old Jonathan Harding, on the job since 2011, was accused of having sex with a female inmate during his night shift, along with bringing her disallowed items like food, cough drops, and even a cellular phone. He's said to have covered up the encounter by logging it as a cell maintenance visit. The incident is said to have taken place in April of this year. Furthermore, Harding is said to have given the woman a glass of bleach to clean out his DNA from the jail cell to destroy evidence of the true nature of his visit.

Harding was arrested and charged with sexual misconduct by an employee with an inmate, unlawful usage of a two-way communication device, two counts of smuggling contraband into a detention facility, and the introduction of contraband into a detention facility. All are felony charges except the last.

He was initially transferred to other duties once evidence was obtained, but Harding was later booked into the Volusia County Branch Jail with plans to transport him to Flagler County's jail for his entire pretrial detainment. At some point prior to this though, he posted his $47,500 bond.

Off-Duty Deputy Arrested

Last week the Daytona Beach Police Department was called by a victim alleging she'd been sexually assaulted by a Volusia Sheriff's deputy. As the incident was described, deputy Stephen Corbin approached her on May 13th in a marked VSO patrol car.

According to the victim's account, Corbin held her there and told her she'd be arrested if she did not engage in sexual acts with him. Through unspecified means the victim was able to escape the encounter, where she then subsequently reported what happened to the DBPD.

An investigation indicated that Corbin also allegedly committed sexual assault earlier that same day. He was arrested and charged with two counts each of bribery, battery, false imprisonment, and solicitation to commit prostitution. He was booked into jail and denied bond.

Corbin resigned from the VSO the same day the allegations came out, but Sheriff Mike Chitwood said he was already preparing to fire him. "To say I’m disappointed in his behavior is an understatement," Chitwood said. "His actions not only discredit his own name, but tarnish the Sheriff’s Office badge and the reputation of our entire organization."

Refraining from his usual animated taunting of serious crime suspects, Chitwood highlighted the fallibility of the agency's hiring process. "Like any profession, ours hires from the human race," he continued. "We don’t have the technology to detect each person’s character flaws, assess their integrity or predict all their future conduct. We do have a responsibility to act decisively when someone’s character falls short of the public’s expectations. This person will not be a deputy sheriff in our community, and his badge will be melted down so it won’t represent this agency in the future."