Former boot camp guard offered new job after acquittal

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) - Bay County's sheriff says a former juvenile boot camp guard who was exonerated by a jury in the death of a Panama City, Florida teenager was offered a new position with the sheriff's office but turned it down.

Sheriff Frank McKeithen was responding yesterday to a lawsuit filed by Charles Helms Junior the day before. The former guard is seeking a court order for the sheriff's office to give him a proper notice of the allegations against him and an opportunity to respond.

McKeithen says everyone at the boot camp was laid off when it shut down.

But Helms' attorney says her client was a certified law enforcement officer with the sheriff's office, not an employee for the Department of Juvenile Justice, which ran the boot camp.

McKeithen says Helms was offered a job in the office's communications division after the acquittal. Helms' attorney says it was a dispatcher's job and had nothing to do with law enforcement.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)