Shortly after he admitted to having sex with a prostitute, Sgt. Eric Parker of the Marion County Sheriff’s Department in Indianapolis found himself out of a job yesterday. Sheriff Frank Anderson fired Parker after the department’s Merit Board deadlocked over whether to dismiss him. Anderson wants the board to reconsider its decision to suspend but not fire another deputy who also had sex with the woman.
The woman in the case, Toni Burley, testified yesterday that after the sex act in a hotel room Parker, 31, told her, “Don’t worry about me arresting you.” Parker arrested Burley for disorderly conduct two weeks before having sex with her. He said he had no idea she was a prostitute.
Attorney Thomas Wheeler, who prosecuted the case for the Sheriff’s Department, told the board that the case is vital to the public interest. He said the department has a reputation for not punishing officers harshly for violating departmental rules. “This has led to a culture in the department where conduct like this has been tolerated,” Wheeler said. “This must change.”
Parker’s attorney said his client was guilty only of an off-duty marital indiscretion.