By Lianna Hubbard
The FSW registrar and interim director of advising was arrested outside his home on March 18 for custodial sexual battery of a minor.
Garnett Salmon is accused of raping a girl over whom he had custodial authority, beginning when the alleged victim was 13 and he was 34. The abuse continued for three years, according to a warrant for his arrest.
Four days after the arrest, FSW sent emails to all students and faculty emphasizing a “zero-tolerance policy at FSW on the type of behavior described in the allegation.” The email did not specifically name Salmon or the crimes he is accused of.
“It is the desire of the FSW leadership team to always foster an environment where faculty, staff and students feel confident to bring forward any issues,” read the email from FSW President Jeffery Allbritten to students. “Allegations of misconduct are acted upon swiftly and equitably, without fear of retaliation, regardless of the position of the victim or the accused.”
At press time, Salmon could not be reached for comment.
According to the Cape Coral Police Department warrant to arrest, the alleged victim lived with Salmon in Cape Coral from 2012 to 2017. The warrant says that he threatened to report the mother of the victim to federal immigration authorities if she tried to see her daughter.
The victim was living with in the same house as Salmon at the time of the abuse. At the time, Salmon was also living with his wife and a daughter. When the victim was 11, Salmon and his wife divorced and the mother and their daughter moved out of the house.
The warrant says the abuse started on a Sunday morning after church in 2014, when the alleged victim was 13 and Salmon was 34.
Salmon told the girl, “you can’t tell anyone or both of us will get in trouble,” according to the warrant.
The abuse lasted for three years, according to the CCPD warrant.
During that time, Salmon forced the alleged victim into frequent vaginal and oral sex, according to the summaries of interviews with the girl and her mother that are attached to the warrant.
When the victim was 14, Salmon made a videotape of her performing oral sex on him and critiqued it, according to the interview summaries.
When she was 15, Salmon put the victim on birth control pills says the warrant.
The warrant also details that Salmon would take many business trips around Florida for his work. From the ages 13 to 15, he would take the victim on these trips.
According to the interview with the child that was attached to the warrant, Salmon expected the alleged victim to have sex with him on these trips. When she once refused him at a hotel in Miami, he pushed her, the child told investigators.
The abuse ended after the victim moved in with her mother in Jacksonville in 2017, according to the warrant.
The mother of the victim learned about the abuse on Nov. 9, during an argument with her daughter. To confirm the girl’s story of having sexual relations with Salmon, the mother texted Salmon with her daughter’s phone. Salmon replied asking for videos of the girl dancing naked, said the warrant.
That day, the mother made a report to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.
Salmon started at FSW as a student. In 2006, he became a teaching assistant.
In 2009, when FSW was Edison State College, he graduated with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Supervision and Management. He was selected by his peers and professors to give a speech at his graduation.
The text of Salmon’s graduation speech was on the FSW website at press time. His name and contact information had been removed from the directory.
In 2010, Salmon was employed at FSW as a student services specialist. He became the registrar in 2014, the same year the alleged abuse started.
When FSW had a vacancy for director of advising last year, Salmon stepped in as interim.
Salmon sat on search committees for high-level FSW jobs, including committees meeting now to select a provost and a dean of education.
According to the interim provost, Eileen DeLuca, Salmon’s brother, Verdean Salmon, also worked at FSW, possibly in the registrar’s department.
In February of 2017, Verdean Salmon was arrested for lewd and lascivious behavior with a minor between the ages of 12 and 16, when he was 25.
He signed a plea deal, served a year in Lee County Jail, was listed on a sexual offender’s registry, and then deported to his home country, Jamaica, the following year.
According to the CCPD booking report, Verdean was living at the same address as his brother at the time of the arrest.
Garnett Salmon’s arrest came after a five-month investigation by CCPD. A police report to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office from the mother of the victim sparked the investigation in November. On Nov. 10, Deputy A.S. Perez from JSO interviewed the mother about her reports of a rape.
After the JSO interview, the case was brought to the attention of the CCPD, since Salmon is currently in their jurisdiction.
CCPD issued a warrant for Salmon’s arrest on March 14. He was arrested eight days later at his home in Cape Coral. The arrest report says that he went willingly with Officer Patrick Rosales.
He spent 19 hours in custody before bonding out on a $100,000 bail using Bail Me Out Bail Bond based in Fort Myers.
That day Salmon called Eileen DeLuca, FSW interim provost, and explained his arrest.
“I told him not to return to campus,” said DeLuca.
On March 20, the college placed Salmon on paid administrative leave. The next day, FSW announced that Sarah Clouse would serve as interim registrar.
According to the booking report, Salmon is ordered no contact with minors. Salmon’s next court date is set for April 22 at 8:30 a.m.