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Crime & Courts

Lakeland officer jailed on charges of sexual assault


Published:   |   Updated: September 27, 2013 at 06:37 AM

Lakeland Police Department officer was charged Thursday with armed sexual battery by a law enforcement officer and armed aggravated stalking.

Julio Pagan, 31, turned himself in Thursday morning at the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

Lakeland Police Chief Lisa Womack said at a news conference that Pagan met a resident while responding to a call in July. Police records show Pagan then returned to her home in August when the woman called regarding a problem with her daughter.

According to the police report, Pagan pressured the woman for sex, and “she felt somewhat intimidated because he was in uniform,” police Detective Paula Tolbert wrote in her three-page report.

“There are simply no words to express my shock, my outrage and my disgust,” Womack said. “I’m angry for every member of our community.”

Officials said the charges against Pagan are not part of the ongoing sexual misconduct scandal that has plagued t he department for months.

Pagan was suspended with pay Friday night. It is unclear whether he’s retained an attorney.

Records show that Pagan, who formerly worked at the Bartow Police Department, was hired by Lakeland police in 2011 and is paid $43,789.

Pagan’s case comes as the department wraps up its months-long investigation into sexual misconduct on and off duty by numerous officers and city employees. This new case also comes after numerous reforms in policy and procedure were put into place by Womack, who emphasized officer ethics at a recent presentation to the Lakeland Police Advisory Commission.

The advisory board is compiling its final report to present to the City Commission next month. The commission, which is made up of volunteers, was created by Lakeland Mayor Gow Fields and is tasked with reviewing a multitude of problems at LPD, including the large sexual -misconduct case involving numerous employees, and recommending reforms.

Another Lakeland Police Department officer was suspended for a day without pay on Thursday after asking a woman he pulled over during a traffic stop to shake her bra to see if she was hiding drugs. The suspension was because he did not use a microphone during the stop, not because of the search.

Pagan was being held in the Polk County Jail and was denied bail.

According to an arrest affidavit, Pagan and other officers went to the area of the woman’s home July 4 to check a report of shots fired. The woman was walking back from the store, and saw Pagan walking around, assumed he needed to use a bathroom and let him do so in her home. He talked to her for about 25 minutes before leaving.

She called 911 on Aug. 12 to report a domestic disturbance and Pagan and another officer went to her home, according to the affidavit. The other officer left, but Pagan stayed and kept telling the woman he wanted to have sex with her.

She told investigators she felt pressured to have sex with him, and so she did in the bathroom, the affidavit said. She told investigators that she was drunk at the time.

Then on Aug., 29, Pagan returned to her residence unannounced, again saying he wanted to have sex with her, according to the affidavit. The woman had her babysitter call 911 to report that Pagan was at her house and not wanted. Pagan drove the woman to the store, and when she started to walk home, Pagan picked her up in his patrol car.

He was then called to check on a report of dogs fighting, and afterward returned to her house, where he knocked on the door and asked for sex, the affidavit said. She said her son was still awake, Pagan left and she reported him to 911.

Pagan returned to her house on Sept. 16, grabbed her when she opened the door and asked for a “quickie,” the report said. The woman told him her roommate was there, and Pagan left. The roommate told police he saw a marked Lakeland police car leaving the driveway.

The department started its investigation on Friday when Pagan was placed on administrative leave and relieved of all duties, police said.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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