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FDLE to decide officer's fate in prostitute case

TAMPA — The Florida Department of Law Enforcement will consider the future of a Tampa police officer who resigned amid allegations of misconduct with a prostitute.

Antonio Rosario, an 18-year veteran of the department, resigned in November during an internal affairs inquiry as officials investigated claims he let a woman go free, despite warrants for her arrest, after she exposed herself to him in a flea market bathroom.

Now, state officials will decide whether or not Rosario will remain a certified law enforcement officer in Florida. The first hearing in the matter is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.

Rosario could not be reached for comment.

On May 26, 2007, Rosario worked an off-duty job at the International Flea Market on Nebraska Avenue. There, he met a woman, Brittany Josten, who told him she was a prostitute, said the internal affairs report.

Josten told investigators the officer asked her how much she charged for her services and where she would take a customer. Rosario told her they couldn't go to his house because his wife was there, Josten told investigators.

In a bathroom at the flea market, Josten exposed her private areas to the police officer, she told investigators.

She said Rosario then ran her name through the computer system in his patrol car, and he found two outstanding warrants for her arrest. She joked that he should handcuff her and go meet her mother at the market, she told investigators.

The officer then handcuffed her, and the two met her mother. Rosario then let Josten go without arresting her, said the report.

In an interview with police investigators, Rosario admitted that Josten exposed herself to him, but he said he did not know about the warrants until after she had left the flea market.

Investigators found he had violated police rules of attentiveness to duty, truthfulness and standards of conduct as well as failure to comply with policies for warrants and arrests.

News researcher John Martin contributed to this report.

FDLE to decide officer's fate in prostitute case 06/13/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 17, 2008 8:46am]
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