Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Clearwater police officer won't face computer crimes charge

CLEARWATER — Prosecutors have decided not to pursue criminal charges against a Clearwater police commander accused of wrongfully using a law enforcement database to disclose a South Pasadena woman's personal information.

Lt. Richard Crean, 46, was facing a felony computer crimes charge for searching Florida's Driver and Vehicle Information Database, commonly called DAVID, for a license plate number sent to him by Laura McLynas of Palm Harbor. The plate was from a car parked in front of the house of her estranged husband, Clearwater resident James McLynas.

Crean ran the license plate on his computer and sent information about the car's owner, South Pasadena resident Kim Harwell — a friend of James McLynas — to Laura McLynas.

After Harwell filed a complaint with the Clearwater Police Department, the agency referred a computer crimes charge against Crean to the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office.

Prosecutors have now determined that Crean will not be criminally charged, according to Assistant State Attorney Kendall Davidson. He said a review of the case showed Crean was pursuing a potential criminal investigation when he used the database, though he erred in disclosing Harwell's information to Laura McLynas.

The matter has been referred back to Clearwater police internal affairs investigators, Davidson said.

"We felt that was more appropriately handled through administrative sanctions, or agency disciplinary actions. I understand Clearwater is going to follow up on this," he said. "If you went in for a nonbusiness, nonlaw-enforcement purpose, we would be much more inclined to look upon it as a crime."

Davidson said that while Crean had not committed a criminal offense, he had violated the rules for police agencies subscribing to DAVID, and that Crean and the Clearwater Police Department could be punished accordingly by the state administrators who run the database.

Clearwater public safety spokeswoman Elizabeth Watts confirmed that police would now proceed with their internal investigation of Crean's actions, which was on hold as the state attorney's office decided whether the police commander would be charged with a felony. She said Crean returned from leave Tuesday to an "administrative assignment" in the department after prosecutors' decision.

"Our internal affairs investigation will pick back up, and we can't comment on an internal affairs investigation until it's over," Watts said.

Crean could not be reached for comment.

The decision by prosecutors is the latest turn in a strange saga driven by the intense marital discord of James and Laura McLynas.

Davidson said Crean's access of the database was legitimate because Laura McLynas suspected Harwell had helped James McLynas pick up the couple's child from school at the wrong time, in an alleged violation of a family law judge's custody order.

But Harwell was never charged with such an offense. She was charged with violating a restraining order Laura McLynas filed against her, Davidson said, but prosecutors dropped that charge after reviewing the evidence. Harwell had no prior criminal record in Florida.

"There was no legal basis for Crean to look up my records, much less provide them to Laura McLynas," Harwell wrote in an e-mail to the Tampa Bay Times in response to the state attorney's decision. "I am looking forward to reading the state attorney's file tomorrow to see why they made this decision."

James McLynas has asserted that Crean gave Harwell's information to his estranged wife because the police officer was romantically involved with Laura McLynas. Davidson said Crean told investigators under oath that "there was no relationship."

Peter Jamison can be reached at pjamison@tampabay.com or (727) 445-4157.

Clearwater police officer won't face computer crimes charge 01/22/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 22, 2013 11:25pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Winner and loser of the week in Florida politics

    Blogs

     Winner of the week

    Peter Antonacci. Gov. Rick Scott tapped his go-to utility player to lead his Florida job recruiting agency, Enterprise Florida, having previously picked him for his general counsel, to lead the South Florida Water Management District and to serve as Palm Beach state …

  2. On the Camino de Santiago, Day 19: A peregrina spends the whole day under the weather, and part of the day under the table

    Travel

    Day 19: El Burgo Ranero to Puente Villarente: 25.4 km, 7.5 hours (Total for Days 1-19 = 454 km (282 miles)

    This list pretty much sums up my day:

    Eat two bananas

    Walk 13.1 kilometers

    Nap

    Walk 6.2 kilometers

    Nap

    Eat half an apple

    Walk 6.1 kilometers

    Crash< …

  3. Storm routs Cleveland

    Storm

    TAMPA — Alvin Ray Jackson intercepted two passes, returning one for a touchdown, and recovered two fumbles as the Storm routed Cleveland 57-27 Saturday night in its home regular-season finale at Amalie Arena.

  4. Miscue sends Rays to another stinging loss to Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays gave away DJ Kitty onesies Saturday night. Then they gave away the game.

    Rays centerfielder Mallex Smith misses a drive hit by Adrian Beltre with two outs in the sixth, allowing the tying runs to score. Beltre puts Texas ahead 4-3 when he scores after two wild pitches.
  5. Rowdies shut out Charleston

    Soccer

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rowdies know a thing or two about stalemates, with five of their past 10 games ending in a draw.

    Rowdies in the first half during the game between Tampa Bay Rowdies and the Charleston Battery at Al Lang Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Saturday, Jul 22, 2017.