The officer, who has since resigned, is now the subject of an FBI investigation.
Authorities say Leonel Marines used a police database to contact women for dates and sex.ISTOCKPHOTO
A FLORIDA POLICE officer used a police database to find and contact women he solicited for dates and sex, authorities say.
Sgt. Leonel Marines, a 12-year veteran in the Bradenton Police Department resigned in October amid a department probe into the accusations and is now under FBI investigation for his conduct.
Authorities with the police department have discovered and interviewed some 150 women who Marines found and contacted using the police database containing driver’s licenses and vehicle registrations.
Marines acted inappropriately with a subset of that group of women, using his title as a police officer. He contacted the women by social media, phone and in visits to their homes to “try to get dates” with the women, who were largely Hispanic, Melanie Bevan, the department’s chief, said at a news conference last week. Bevan said Marines was sometimes successful.
“To get right to the root of the matter, Leonel Marines was not utilizing this data for law enforcement purposes whatsoever,” Bevan said. She said his behavior “cast a dark shadow on our law enforcement profession.”
Marines was first caught using police data to contact women inappropriately in 2012 and was handed a three-day suspension, The Bradenton Herald reported. The behavior, however, continued.
The police department’s most recent investigation into Marines’ behavior began after he followed a woman to her parents’ house last summer, Bevan said. Marines knocked on the door of the home, and, when the woman’s parents answered, asked to speak with the woman, citing a domestic incident. The parents refused to allow Marines to speak with their daughter and filed a complaint with the police department, sparking the internal investigation.
An audit of Marines’ use of the police database containing licenses and registrations found a “very, very clear” trend that he disproportionately searched for female names and also conducted searches unrelated to cases he was working on with the department.
Marines resigned last fall after being placed on administrative leave as a result of the investigation, though the investigation continued.
Authorities found that Marines’ behavior may have been going on since 2012, Bevan said. The internal investigation, which at one point involved five investigators, concluded after finding several determinations of gross misconduct, including sex on duty. Marines would have been fired if he had not resigned, Bevan said.
A criminal case conducted by the FBI is ongoing, Bevan said.
Claire Hansen, USNews, March 11, 2019, “Police Officer Used Official Database to Find Women for Dates and Sex”, https://www.usnews.com/news/national-news/articles/2019-03-11/police-officer-used-official-database-to-find-women-for-dates-and-sex