Criminal Justice

Florida police department's sex scandal implicates at least 10 cops

At least ten Lakeland, Fla., police officers have been implicated in a long-running sex scandal involving a civilian crime analyst.

Sue Eberle, a 37-year-old married mother of two, has told investigators she had consensual and sometimes coerced sex with at least 10 officers and one firefighter over an eight-year period in various places, including the station house, patrol cars, motels and a parking lot following a memorial service for a officer who had been killed, the Associated Press reports.

Eberle’s account of the encounters, which were largely corroborated by many of her sexual partners, are detailed in a graphic 59-page report by Polk County, Fla., State Attorney Jerry Hill, whose office spent three months investigating the allegations.

“The investigation revealed an extraordinary amount of sexual conduct that was committed both on-duty and off-duty,” Hill wrote in his report to Lakeland Police Chief Lisa Womack. “We find the conduct of a number of sworn officers, including some officers of rank, to be at best a waste of taxpayer dollars. At worst their actions indicate a moral bankruptcy that exists amongst some individuals within the ranks” of the police department.

At a recent city commission meeting, Womack promised that changes would be made at the department and that officers who “dishonored” their positions will be removed from duty. “I am appalled by those who chose to engage in this behavior, and I am equally appalled by those who knew about it and didn’t come forward,” the Tampa Bay Times quotes her as saying.

Eberle, who has gone public with her story and appeared alongside her husband and her attorney at a recent news conference, is on paid administrative leave. Her lawyer told WPTV that Eberle has filed state and federal sexual-harassment complaints against the city and police department, and that their next step may be to file suits.

Three city employees, including the former assistant chief, have retired. Five others have been placed on administrative leave or modified duty.

Hill said he couldn’t prosecute anybody because of a lack of physical evidence and because so much time has elapsed since some of the encounters took place.

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