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Coconut Creek police officer arrested, accused of sexual battery

2 teens have come forward; officer denies allegations

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. – A Coconut Creek police officer was arrested Thursday on sexual battery charges after two teenagers came forward, the Broward Sheriff’s Office said.

Officer Daniel Rush was taken into custody at the Coconut Creek Police Department on one count of custodial sexual battery and two counts of lewd and lascivious molestation, deputies said.

He appeared in court Friday morning, where he was ordered to be held in jail without bond.

Rush's attorney, Johnny McCray, told Local 10 News that his client "adamantly" denies the allegations.

McCray said Rush "has been an upstanding officer (and an) upstanding citizen."

The accusation against Rush surfaced after a 13-year-old victim wrote a note about the battery and handed it to a parishioner at the Church of Christ in Pompano Beach on Sunday. The note detailed the claims of sexual misconduct, deputies said.

The teen then tore the note up and threw it away, deputies said, but the parishioner fetched it from the trash and spoke to the alleged victim.

The parishioner asked for the identity of the person mentioned in the note, and the teen said it was Rush, deputies said. The teen then begged the parishioner not to confront Rush. 

That parishioner turned the note over to deputies Monday, deputies said.

Deputies went to the church, where they spoke to the teen about the allegations, deputies said, and the teen's parents were notified.

The teen began to cry after he confirmed that he wrote the note and said the incident took place inside Rush's Coconut Creek home, deputies said.

The Coconut Creek Police Department was then notified about the allegations, deputies said. The department made a formal request Tuesday for the BSO to handle the investigation. 

Through the course of the investigation, the teen told deputies that Rush invited him to go to a movie and went back to Rush's home so he could change his clothes, an arrest report said. 

After Rush changed, he took the teen to his patrol vehicle, where he sat and played with the siren, the arrest report said.

Rush then took the teen to his personal vehicle, where they waited for a text message from someone else, the report said.

While in the car, the teen was told to go back inside the house to get a pair of keys, the report said. When the teen returned, Rush began to fondle him, the report said. 

The teen told Rush to stop, the report said, and Rush complied, asking the teen to go back inside the home and get another set of keys.

Rush then spoke to the teen, but his comments were redacted from the police report. 

Rush and the teen then picked up another child, went to Hooters for dinner and then to see a movie, the report said. 

Deputies contacted Rush after the teen made his statements. 

The officer agreed to voluntarily speak to deputies, the report said. 

Rush told deputies he knows the teen from church and that the teen is part of his mentorship program, Men of Virtue & Ethics, the report said. Rush works with troubled teens in this program, which is associated with several churches in Broward County. 

Rush's work is primarily done from the Church of Christ, which is his childhood church, the report said. 

Rush confirmed that he had taken the teen to the movies about a year ago and that the teen would tag along when Rush would go out with his brother, the report said. Rush said that the teen would invite himself out and that he never invited him.

Rush also told deputies that he was never alone with the teen and that there were always other children around, the report said.

A second victim came forward Wednesday, claiming that Rush fondled him, deputies said.

This teen told deputies that Rush would take him shopping and "other fun places all the time," the report said. 

He said that Rush fondled him at a stop light once, the report said, and that he stopped when asked. 

Rush has denied the allegations against him. He has been placed on unpaid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. 

Rush has been an officer for five years. Prior to joining the Coconut Creek Police Department, Rush was an explorer for six years.

A Broward County judge ordered Rush not to have contact with any of the alleged victims in the case.

The Broward Sheriff’s Office is asking for anyone with additional information to contact Detective Ann Suter at 954-321-4240 or Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. 

About the Authors:

Andrew Perez is a South Florida native who joined the Local 10 News team in May 2014.

Layron Livingston made the move from Ohio's Miami Valley to Miami, Florida, to join the Local 10 News team.