Lakeland PD hands out discipline following sex scandal

Lakeland PD hands out discipline following sex scandal (Image 1)

A new 77-page report by the Lakeland Police Department is critical of the way dispatchers and a police supervisor handled a complaint about sexual misconduct by an officer in the department.

In September, Lakeland Police Chief Lisa Womack fired Officer Julio Pagan after allegations were made about sexual misconduct while he was on the job.  Pagan is now facing two counts of armed sexual battery and one count of aggravated stalking.

The report released today is the result of an administrative review of the incident.  It outlines the complaint from the victim about Pagan’s actions.

Related content:  coverage of Lakeland Police Department scandals

The victim says she first met Pagan on July 4, 2013, when she saw him walking past her home.  Pagan and other officers had been dispatched to the area because of complaints about shots being fired.  The victim says she thought Pagan was looking for a bathroom, so she allowed him to come into her home. 

The victim says she encountered Pagan again at another time when she called to complain about her own daughter.  At that time the victim says she had been drinking at that Pagan relentlessly asked her for sex.

The victim says she felt pressured and eventually gave into Pagan’s requests and had sex with him in her bathroom.  Following that encounter, the victim claims that Pagan came to her home again and again without an invitation and asked her for sex.

At one point, the victim says Pagan told her he needed sex at least ten times a day.

Eventually, a friend of the victim called a non-emergency number for the Lakeland Police Department to report Pagan’s actions.  According the review, the dispatcher did not take vital information from the initial complaint and dropped the call.  The victim’s friend then accidentally redialed the police and another intake operator forwarded the call to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

Eventually a Lakeland Police Sergeant was advised of the complaint, but the review says he failed to follow up.

“This case is a matter of a mistake being made early on with an intake operator not taking some information that she should have,” said Lakeland Police Sergeant Gary Gross.  “We want to help the citizens. From there, it went to a sergeant who was told to call our victim and he did call, but her phone was dead.”

Sergeant Gross says several mistakes were made.

“The intake operator made a mistake, the sergeant made a mistake that resulted in the discipline that was handed out by Chief Womack,” Gross said.

As a result of the actions, Chief Womack suspended one intake operator for 72 hours, ordered counseling for the second dispatcher involved, and a mandatory education course for the sergeant involved.

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