Criminal charges won’t be filed against Lakeland Police Department officers accused by civilian department employee Sue Eberle of forcing her to have sex with them both on and off duty, but the allegations have still brought a black eye to the Florida department ensnared in the sex scandal.
Eberle, a civilian criminal analyst for the Lakeland PD, told investigators that while most of the sexual encounters she had with officers was consensual, she felt pressured into participating in some of the trysts. The investigation found that Eberle was credible, and some of her accounts of the sex encounters were backed up by some of the officers being accused, but a lack of physical evidence prevented State Attorney Jerry Hill from filing criminal charges. The sexual conduct started as early as 2009.
“An overwhelming majority of the sworn testimony of Eberle was corroborated through sworn testimony of others. The most compelling corroboration was the personal admissions made by alleged participants in the reported sexual activity. Time and time again, Sue Eberle’s allegations were validated through direct testimony and corroborating evidence,” Hill wrote in his report of the investigation that was sent Thursday to International Business Times.
But the interviews were not enough to file charges against those officers who coaxed Eberle into having sex with them against her will.
“Because of the length of time gone by, the investigators were unable to pinpoint with precision the specific dates and acts that were likely criminal in nature. This fact, along with the failure to preserve certain physical evidence, and the failure of confidantes to immediately report [the conduct] prevents the state attorney’s office from filing criminal charges against the perpetrators,” the investigators wrote. “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 among some individuals within the ranks of the Lakeland Police Department. The state attorney office’s inability to file criminal charges in this case is not an indication that members of the Lakeland Police Department have not severely breached the public’s trust.”
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The 50-page report went into lengthy detail about the sexual encounters between Eberle and a number of Lakeland Police Department officers. The officers and Eberle engaged in sex at the Lakeland PD headquarters, patrol cars, a church and city-owned buildings, among other locales. The report involves sex, sexting and unwanted sexual advances.
In interviews with investigators, Eberle called Lakeland PD Gang Officer Dan Jonas “a freak” who “asked her to urinate in a cup so he could drink it.” The civilian criminal analyst also claimed Jonas sent her photos of him wearing women’s underwear. She said there was no sexual contact between them.
In another instance, Eberle told investigators that she had sex with Lakeland Police Officer Steve Sherman in her car parked in a cemetery and that she had sex with him numerous times because “he wanted it.”
Eberle also was subjected to unwanted sexual advances by Lakeland public employees, including then-director of employee relations George Brooks.
The civilian criminal analyst detailed an incident in 2004, when Brooks allegedly closed the door to his office and “pulled Eberle’s clothing to expose her pubic area.
“Brooks used scissors to cut some pubic hair from Eberle. He put the pubic hair in an envelope and told Eberle he wanted something to remember her by,” the report stated.
Eberle also had consensual sex with Lakeland firefighter David Bivens, according to the report.
Read the rest of the report below to see the allegations leveled against the officers and state employees: