Friday, April 20, 2018
Public safety

Tarpon Springs cop resigns, accused of having affair with felon

UPDATE (Dec. 21, 2015): Nickole Carter's marijuana possession charge has been dismissed, according to court records.

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TARPON SPRINGS — A Tarpon police detective resigned last month before the conclusion of an internal affairs investigation that found he was having an affair with a convicted felon and often traveled to her mobile home while on duty to have sex with her, officials announced Wednesday.

According to internal affairs documents, Detective John Loibl maintained a relationship with Nickole Carter, 31, and visited her up to several times a week during his shift. Loibl also drove Carter, on probation for drug charges, to probation office appointments in his unmarked police car.

Loibl, 49, was married at the time.

Carter told investigators she met Loibl the summer of 2011 at Busch Gardens while they both waited in line for an amusement ride. They stayed in touch, became friends and eventually began an affair.

When Carter moved from Tampa to Tarpon Springs in October 2012, Loibl helped her find a job at a Subway restaurant and arranged for her to stay at the Hillside Mobile Home Park on U.S. 19. Loibl drove to her home, both in Tampa and later in Tarpon Springs, in his police car during his shift to have sex with her while her children were at school, records show. She told her probation officer she was Loibl's "mistress."

"I think he's a great man. I didn't ever feel forced to do anything," she told investigators. "It was just good to have somebody to actually treat me and my kids good, like nobody ever has."

Loibl took Carter and her three children out to dinner. He bought hamsters for the children, ages 7, 9 and 11, and gave Carter cash to help her with rent and her electric bill, she told investigators.

On July 26, Loibl texted his supervisor: "I don't feel well. My stomach is a mess. … I'm going to go ahead and call out." That same day, Loibl drove Carter in his police car to Perry — a 342-mile round trip. He fueled his police car with gas from a city pump, records show.

Three days later, the Tarpon Springs Probation and Parole Office told police that Loibl might be involved with Carter. Loibl had driven her to the office for a monthly meeting with her probation officer, who recognized him, police said.

Police Chief Robert P. Kochen ordered an internal affairs investigation. On July 30, Loibl was placed on administrative leave with pay.

On Aug. 13, he resigned. He was uncooperative with investigators and didn't show up for his internal affairs interview, police spokesman Capt. Jeffrey Young said.

Had he remained at the department, Loibl would have been terminated, Kochen said.

The chief called Loibl's behavior "disgraceful," adding that "no agency is immune from certain people doing things like this."

Loibl was hired by the department in September 2005. In 2006, Loibl received additional training after investigators found he had improperly documented evidence. In 2007, he was spoken to twice for tardiness, Young said.

In December 2010, Carter was sentenced to 18 months probation in Hillsborough County on a controlled substance possession charge. Earlier this year, she violated her probation by traveling from Pinellas to Hillsborough, where she was arrested for marijuana possession, police said.

State records show Carter was also convicted of DUI property damage in November 2010. She was sentenced to one year of probation, and her driver's license was suspended for six months.

Loibl and Carter could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Because Loibl had not completed 10 years at the department, he will not receive pension benefits, Young said.

Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report. Contact Laura C. Morel at [email protected] or (727)445-4157.

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