A former Williamson County Sheriff's Office deputy has been sentenced to 11 months and 29 days of supervised probation after pleading guilty to attempted official misconduct.
It's in regard to a 2021 criminal case in which the deputy "mishandled information" in a rape investigation.
According to court documents, 34-year-old John Edward Vande Woude III, of Spring Hill, pleaded guilty to the amended charge as part of a plea deal after he was initially indicted by a grand jury on a charge of official misconduct. It followed an investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
According to District Attorney Kim Helper, the criminal investigation against Vande Woude began when the Franklin Police Department began investigating a rape allegation at Franklin apartment complex where Vande Woude worked as a courtesy officer. They typically provide some level of security and often live in the complex.
Few details have been made public about that investigation, which later saw the TBI's involvement at the request of Helper, and featured allegations that Vande Woude had "mishandled information" which could have benefited the unidentified rape suspect, someone who was friends with Vande Woude.
That rape investigation never advanced to a criminal prosecution, and no other information about the investigation has been made public.
“No one is above the law, and the [Vande Woude’s] actions potentially could have damaged a criminal case, and that would be unacceptable, particularly from law enforcement officers who are charged with upholding the law,” Helper said in a phone call. “I think both Franklin [Police Department] and TBI felt strongly that there was a violation of that trust by a law enforcement officer using information he obtained in his official capacity.”
According to a 2021 WCSO news release, Vande Woude was hired as a Detention Deputy in 2017 and transferred to the Patrol Division in 2019.
Sheriff Dusty Rhoades decommissioned Vande Woude and revoked his law enforcement powers in spring 2021. It left Vande Woude working in a civilian capacity at the WCSO until his arrest, after which he was terminated.
Attempted official misconduct is a Class A misdemeanor, as a condition of the plea deal, Vande Woude is barred from working as a law enforcement officer while on probation.