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Pinellas corporal, deputy under scrutiny resign

LARGO — A veteran Pinellas County Sheriff's Office corporal and a patrol deputy resigned Monday while under investigation over unrelated allegations.

An investigation of patrol Cpl. Curtis Kindle, 40, stemmed from allegations that he was having sex while on duty.

For months, Kindle traveled during his shift to meet with a woman at her apartment in Palm Harbor as well as at the medical office where she worked, where they allegedly had sex in a closed room, said Sheriff Bob Gualtieri.

Under state law, officers under investigation are allowed to review all of the interviews and evidence collected during an internal affairs case before providing a statement.

But when Kindle saw the evidence Monday, he resigned, the sheriff said.

"The evidence was substantial," Gualtieri said. "I would have fired him. There's no doubt in my mind I was going to terminate him."

Patrol Deputy Cory Hughes, 37, was the subject of two internal affairs investigations. One case involved a "domestic incident" with his live-in girlfriend at their Manatee County home, Gualtieri said. During an investigation by the Manatee County sheriff's and state attorney's offices, synthetic marijuana was also located inside the home.

Prosecutors declined to file charges against Hughes, Gualtieri said, adding "it wasn't a clear-cut case as to whether it was his or hers."

But an internal affairs investigation continued. On Monday, Hughes' attorney contacted the Sheriff's Office and said he was going to resign.

Gualtieri said that in a second case, Hughes was accused of using excessive force during an arrest but those allegations weren't likely to hold up.

All three internal affairs cases were opened last year. The investigative reports were not available Tuesday.

Hughes could not be reached for comment. Kindle declined to comment, but his wife, Kimberly, said his resignation will be hard for their family.

"I'm able to look past and try to forgive my husband and try to put the pieces back together. This is obviously going to be devastating for his future employment," she said. "I will just tell you my husband loved his job. The only thing he ever wanted to do was be a police officer."

Kindle was hired by the Sheriff's Office in March 1995. During his 18-year career, he joined the DUI unit in 2001 and also worked for the patrol operations bureau, where he was a field training officer for about two years.

In 2009, Kindle was named deputy of the year by Dunedin Masonic Lodge 192.

Kindle was also the victim in a 2012 battery when a man he was placing in custody stunned him with Kindle's own Taser.

Kindle has been married since 2006, county records show.

In 2006, Hughes was hired by the Largo Police Department, but he left the agency in 2012. His resignation did not involve misconduct, state records show. He was hired by the Sheriff's Office the same year and was still in his probationary period.

Times staff researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report. Contact Laura C. Morel at lmorel@tampabay.com or (727)445-4157.

Pinellas corporal, deputy under scrutiny resign 01/07/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 7, 2014 10:41pm]
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