BOCA RATON — A second law enforcement agency has opened its own investigation into allegations that a Broward Sheriff’s deputy had inappropriate sexual contact with his best friend’s 8-year-old autistic daughter.

“There is a current ongoing investigation,” said Theresa “Teri” Barbera, public information officer for the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.  “We cannot release the report or any of its details until the investigation is complete.”

The investigation is related to molestation allegations made against Broward Sheriff’s Deputy Carlos Periu, 40, who has been with the agency for 10 years. As first reported in the Dec. 9, 2010 edition of South Florida Times, the Coral Springs Police Department, located in Broward County, launched a probe of Periu in December over the allegations.

Sources said Periu’s family had invited the girl’s family for a visit during the Thanksgiving holiday at Periu’s home, also in Coral Springs, and that was when the alleged incident took place.

“We are in the final stages of the investigation and will likely be in contact with the [State Attorney’s Office] next week,” said

Sergeant Dave Kirkland, spokesperson for the Coral Springs Police Department.

Police are not releasing details and this newspaper is not publishing the names of the child and her parents. But detectives from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office (PBSO) were contacted to determine if any of the alleged incidents may have occurred at the child’s home in unincorporated Palm Beach County. PBSO has now opened an investigation of its own.

According to sources, the child has used graphic details to describe the acts which Periu is alleged to have committed. She is the daughter of another BSO deputy described as Periu’s best friend. Periu and the other deputy serve as godparents of each other’s children. Their families have been close for years, often dining or going on other outings together.

After the Thanksgiving visit at Periu’s home, the child told her mother in explicit terms about a “secret” involving “Uncle Carlos.” Her parents contacted police and took the child to Broward County’s Sexual Assault Treatment Center for a forensic examination that included questioning by investigators.

Coral Springs police informed BSO of their investigation and the sheriff’s office placed Periu on administrative leave on Dec. 19. His patrol car was seized for forensic examination.