POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — A firefighter in Polk County, Florida, was arrested and accused of extorting a 14-year-old local girl to send him nude videos via Snapchat, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies said Richard Dalton Battle, 24, of Palmetto, found the 14-year-old girl on Instagram in 2019 and added her on Snapchat. The victim told Battle she was only 14, to which Battle allegedly replied, “OK.”
When the victim asked Battle how old he was, she said he didn’t answer. After conversations between the two turned sexual, Battle reportedly threatened to tell the girl’s mother unless the victim sent nude videos, a press release from the sheriff’s office stated.
Battle reportedly told the girl he knew where she lived based on a feature built into the Snapchat messaging app called “Snapmaps,” where users can share their live location with friends and the community.
Deputies said the girl feared Battle would come to her home, so she sent him two nude videos of herself. They also said Battle continued to message the girl, repeatedly asking for more videos, which she ignored until March 2022, when she decided she “couldn’t take it anymore.”
When the girl searched for Battle’s identity online, she said she found a Facebook profile where he was wearing a Polk County Fire Rescue T-shirt. The girl reported the online conversations to an adult.
The girl later told detectives it was “the worst thing ever” to send the video of herself.
Deputies said Battle used the Snapchat username “battle_dalton_” during his conversations with the girl.
On Thursday, detectives interviewed Battle when he arrived to work at the Ewell Road fire station. There, he allegedly told deputies he met the victim, whom he believed to be at least 18-years-old, on the dating app Tinder.
Battle denied the threats and denied soliciting the girl to send videos, but deputies said he admitted she sent videos to him. He denied being on Snapchat at all.
He was charged with solicitation of a person under 16 to commit a lewd act, unlawful use of a two-way communication device, and extortion.
During a Friday press conference, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said, “The closest thing he’s going to get a fire, maybe they’ll give him a hot chilly dog at the jail.”