Westmoreland police officer charged with statutory rape - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Westmoreland police officer charged with statutory rape

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Puckett (Photo from Sumner Co. Sheriff's Office) Puckett (Photo from Sumner Co. Sheriff's Office)

A Westmoreland police officer is charged with statutory rape after he was accused of having sex with an underage girl.

"It's a total disgrace," Chief K.D. Smith said. "It's put a black mark on the police department."

John Puckett, 49, of Westmoreland, is accused of having sex with the girl on at least two occasions, at various locations around town including a church parking lot. Smith said he only learned of the allegations after he went by Puckett's home Tuesday. He had not shown up for his shift that morning.  

"He basically told me that he messed up, that he had sex with a 16-year-old," Smith said. "He knew it was wrong. He himself said, 'I have prosecuted and put people in jail for this.'"

Investigators said Puckett also sent the teen nude photos and a video of himself. Smith said Puckett handed over his badge and gun before their conversation at his home ended.

At the same time, Smith said the victim was speaking with investigators at the Sumner County Sheriff's Office.

Since June, Puckett has carried police badge 506 full-time for the Westmoreland Police Department. His neighbor, Tony Southern, said Puckett recently moved to their block on Pleasant Grove Road. Southern said he is shocked by the allegations.

"It's scary. It really is," Southern said. "You know they're supposed serve and protect and not take advantage of someone, especially in their position."

Puckett is jailed on $150,000 bond at the Sumner County Jail. His court date is set for next month.

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