76-year-old DeBary man arrested on charges of trading prescription pills with 15-year-girl for sex; jailed on $1 million bail

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Courtesy photo VCSO / Arnold McDermott, 76, of DeBary, is being held on $1 million bail at the Volusia County Branch Jail, accused of trading prescription pills with a 15-year-old girl for sex, even dictating what sex acts she was to perform in exchange for Oxycodone, an addictive painkiller.

DEBARY -- At 76, Arnold McDermott was not shy about repeatedly having sex with a 15-year-old girl in exchange for giving her prescription pills; even bragging about it, a Volusia County Sheriff's spokesman said Friday after his arrest.

For his alleged hanky-panky with the underaged girl, McDermott was ordered jailed Friday in lieu of $1 million bail by Circuit Judge Herbert Grimes, who signed off on the warrant.

McDermott already was facing drug charges after he sold 15 Oxycodone pills to an undercover narcotics agent back in September. On Friday, McDermott's legal problems got significantly worse after Sheriff's investigators arrested him for unlawful sexual activity with a minor and lewd or lascivious battery. The new charges actually have been under investigation for about 10 months.

While being investigated for alleged drug activity, McDermott was linked to a 15-year-old girl, Sheriff's spokesman Gary Davidson said.

In fact, McDermott didn't deny the allegations, admitting in an interview with Sheriff's Sergeant Virgil Ford and investigator Greg Seymour that he had sex with the girl several times, Davidson said.

"The problem was that the girl initially denied it, telling investigators that McDermott had groped her and tried to pursue a sexual relationship with her, but that they never had sex," Davidson said. "With the girl's denial, investigators looking into the sexual allegations weren't able to pursue a case against McDermott".

The case was actually suspended in April 2010. after investigators ran into a dead-end. It was reopened, however, after the original investigators, with the assistance of Sheriff's Investigator Stella Ott, were able to corroborate the allegations with other witnesses who reported seeing the two together, naked in McDermott's swimming pool, and sleeping together in McDermott's bedroom at his house at 241 Colomba Road, the Sheriff's spokesman said.

"Witnesses also confirmed to investigators that McDermott had been bragging about having sex with the girl," Davidson said "The case against McDermott was cemented earlier this month when the girl, now 17, came forward and said she was thinking more clearly and trying to kick her addiction to prescription pills and was ready to cooperate with investigators."

"She then proceeded to tell investigators that she had been addicted to pain pills since she was 15 and that McDermott repeatedly gave her pills as long as she agreed to have sex with him," Davidson said. "She said that McDermott would dictate what sex acts she would have to perform in order to get the pills and that he sometimes would also give her money along with the drugs.

The girl told Sheriff's investigators she put a halt to the sex in May or June of last year. Based on their findings, Sheriff's investigators obtained the an arrest warrant for McDermott on Friday, transporting him to the branch jail in Daytona Beach.

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Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer, the award-winning 24/7 internet newspaper in Lake Mary serving Central Florida via HeadlineSurfer.com. Florida's first around-the-clock newspaper was launched April 7, 2008, in New Smyrna Beach, initially as NSBNews.net and VolusiaNews.net. Headline Surfer is a registered trademark of NSB News LLC. Frederick was the top winner in the 2012 Florida Press Club contest: 1st place for Blog Writing & 3rd place each for General News Writing, Public Safety Reporting & Best Online Presence (with social media). He's received 18 major journalism awards as a breaking news, investigative reporter & city editor for daily newspapers in Florida, Massachusetts, New York & Connecticut since the mid-1980s. 
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