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The Villages
Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Lady Lake police lieutenant wins dismissal of child abuse charge

Lady Lake Police Lt. Nelson Vargas

A Lady Lake police lieutenant arrested at his home in August has won the dismissal of a child abuse charge.

The prosecutor’s office announced last week that no information will be filed with regard to the child abuse  charge in the case of 50-year-old Nelson Vargas of the Lady Lake Police Department. Vargas, who was arrested at his home in Minneola on Aug. 13, is still facing a charge of domestic battery.

The prosecutor’s office indicated that it had no choice but to drop the child abuse case because Vargas’ wife refused to allow their 11-year-old daughter to be interviewed directly by a member of the prosecutor’s office.

Hours prior to his arrest, Vargas had been texting his wife while she was out to dinner with a friend, according to an arrest report from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office. The texts were “vulgar in nature.” The wife blocked Vargas’ messages, the report said. When she arrived home, Vargas was sitting on the couch, drinking beer and playing loud music. She asked Vargas to turn down the music. She went upstairs, but when she returned downstairs, Vargas used vulgar language and ordered her to go to sleep. She took his beer and poured it down the sink in the kitchen. He shoved her and grabbed her by the arm. Their daughter witnessed what was happening and told Vargas to stop. He pushed her and told her to “mind her own business,” the report said. She ran crying to a bedroom where she locked the door. Her mother headed for the bedroom, but Vargas shoved her to the floor of a nearby bathroom. The daughter emerged from the bedroom and saw her crying mother on the floor. A call was placed to 911.

Vargas joined the Lady Lake Police Department in February 2017. Vargas was promoted in June 2018 to the rank of corporal and became a field training officer, training new members of the department. In 2019, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant. Prior to joining the force in Lady Lake, Vargas served as a police officer for 23 years in his hometown of East Hampton, N.Y.

He remains free on bond and is on administrative leave from the Lady Lake Police Department.

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