A Lee County Sheriff’s Office sergeant and three deputies have been fired, and another deputy has been given three days suspension, as the result of separate internal affairs investigations.
Sgt. Joseph Barley was fired as of April 18 and deputies Juanita Saldivar, Nicholas Rieske, and Jose Torres were fired as of April 26.
An internal affairs report from April 18 released Monday indicated Barley had violated several LCSO policies involving insubordination and neglect of duty.
The insubordination was in the form of untruthfulness and false statements or reports made to a superior officer. The neglect of duty related to the willful violation of official procedures or directives.
The investigation stemmed from inconsistent statements Barley made about a deputy who had left an inmate alone and handcuffed to a hospital bed. While Barley had made a report about the deputy’s actions, further investigation found that Barley had directed the deputy to leave the inmate unattended.
The firings of Saldivar, Rieske and Torres were outlined in a report released Monday confirming they had exhibited conduct unbecoming members of the LCSO and had falsified documents.
Their firings came after an investigation found that Saldivar had falsified attendance records for classes at the Southwest Florida Public Service Academy for Torres and Rieske on several occasions, signing the two deputies in for a class when they were not present.
The three attended classes from September 2016 until February when they were terminated from the academy due to the investigation.
Deputy Christopher Patricella received a three-day suspension without pay, six months probation and will be removed as a field training officer after an accusation of inappropriate comments made against him was found to be true.
He was given the discipline after another deputy reported that in March he addressed her as “Captain Boobs” in front of a trainee at the Lee County jail.
Furthermore, she said, Patricella also commented on her relationship with another LCSO employee and made other lewd comments.
During an internal affairs investigation, Patricella acknowledged that such comments were inappropriate. He also said he sometimes makes inappropriate remarks and was working to rein in his comment.