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ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. -- The Florida Highway Patrol has launched an investigation of its own into a state trooper accused of sending sexually explicit text messages to a teenager. The internal investigation is in addition to the criminal investigation already underway.A spokesperson with the Highway Patrol told Eyewitness News that Trooper James Gilbert is on paid administrative leave until the situation is resolved. That means he doesn't have a squad car or a gun.Several of his neighbors told Eyewitness News he shouldn't have a job."He should be setting a good example for the public," one neighbor said.Instead, the 45-year-old trooper is accused of sending text messages so explicit that is choosing not to post them all. In some of the more tame messages, sources told Eyewitness News he wrote: "I already feel like a dirty old man. But I can't help it," and "I love 2 hear your voice. It excites me."Sources told Eyewitness News the 17-year-old's guardian got suspicious of her phone calls and requested a copy of her cell phone records. The corporal allegedly sent more than 600 text messages to the high schooler over a three-week period and she sent some messages of her own.Eyewitness News went to Trooper Gilbert's Apopka home Tuesday morning to get his side of the story and found his Ford pickup truck in the driveway, but no one answered. Every neighbor Eyewitness News talked to was disgusted."Anybody that does that is sick in my mind," said neighbor Jerry Rose.Some wonder what else the 17-year FHP veteran might be capable of."We have a lot of children that catch buses around here. Who knows if he comes along in his police car that they wouldn't get in," said neighbor Nancy Rose.The teenager's guardian filed a restraining order against Gilbert. The girl's father is also a trooper and the 17-year-old girl herself works near the Turnpike office where Gilbert was recently transferred. Gilbert oversees fatal accidents and homicides.An FHP spokesperson told Eyewitness News that Gilbert has a clean personnel file. Gilbert is on administrative leave from his job, but is still being paid.
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