The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

July 10, 2013

Fla. police officers entangled in sex scandal

— LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) — Authorities are investigating a widespread sex scandal involving nearly a dozen police officers in one Florida city after a civilian crime analyst detailed trysts with the men in police and fire stations, patrol cars, motels and even in a parking lot after a memorial service for a slain officer.

Sue Eberle, 37, has told officials that she had consensual and sometimes coerced sex with the officers and a firefighter, and that she once was propositioned by a city worker in Lakeland. Eberle's accounts of the liaisons were largely corroborated by her sexual partners and others within the police department, and published in a graphic, 59-page report written in an incredulous tone by the county's top prosecutor. It said the department's problems investigating crimes might be caused by some high-ranking officers being more interested in having sex with Eberle than doing their jobs.

"The investigation revealed an extraordinary amount of sexual conduct that was committed both on-duty and off-duty," wrote Jerry Hill, Polk County's state attorney, in the report dated June 25. "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 at the Lakeland Police Department."

Eberle, who has retained an attorney, recounted for Hill how she had sex in police cars, cemeteries and motels with different officers — and in the parking lot outside a reception that followed the December 2011 funeral of Officer Arnulfo Crispin, who had been fatally shot on duty. She also said officers and some supervisors pressured her for sex, groped her while working and texted her photos of their genitalia.

"She was a target. She was weak. And they knew that they could take advantage of that, so they preyed upon her. They preyed upon her, and that's what's so sick about it," Eberle's attorney, David Linesch, said during a recent news conference.

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