Thursday, February 22, 2018

Lakeland police officer charged with sexual battery, stalking

LAKELAND — A 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," 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 allegations against Pagan are not part of the ongoing sexual misconduct scandal that has plagued the department for months.

Pagan was suspended with pay. It is unclear whether he's retained an attorney.

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

The Lakeland Ledger (http://bit.ly/18sc2H0 ) reports that 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 to review a multitude of problems at the department, including the large sexual-misconduct case involving numerous employees, and recommend reforms.

Another Lakeland officer was suspended for a day without pay on Thursday for asking a woman he pulled over during a traffic stop to shake her bra to see if she was hiding drugs.

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