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Official charged with exposure

An assistant county attorney, who had led the county's battle against a nude dance club in Brandon, was charged with exposing himself at an adult book store, Hillsborough sheriff's officials said. Jack Crooks was given a summons early Tuesday to appear on a misdemeanor charge of exposure of sexual organs. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of a year in jail and a $500 fine.

Crooks, 51, resigned Monday at noon after learning he would be charged based on an incident in early May.

"I have enjoyed working with and for you. However, I believe under the circumstances, my resignation is in order," Crooks wrote in his letter of resignation.

According to sheriff's reports, Crooks was in The Adult Bookstore, 3630 U.S. 41 S in Tampa, on May 8 at the same time undercover detectives were conducting an investigation of illicit activity there.

A detective said Crooks fondled himself in front of a detective while watching a film in a "mini-booth," according to reports.

"I was surprised and saddened by this," said County Attorney Emeline Acton, Crooks' boss. "I found out about this at 11:30 a.m. Monday and I called him in, and he tendered his resignation at noon."

Crooks could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Acton said she was not aware of any plans Crooks had for his career.

Both Crooks and his wife, Delores Crooks, have been long active in county politics. Mrs. Crooks is a member of the county planning commission and is working as a consultant on the campaign of Hillsborough sheriff's candidate Col. Cal Henderson.

According to his personnel file, Crooks was hired by the county in July 1989. Previously he worked as a private lawyer, as an assistant city attorney for Tampa and as a Hillsborough assistant state attorney.

Crooks' highest profile case as an attorney for the county was the public battle over the opening of Joe Redner's Mons Venus II nude dance club in Brandon.

The club was closed shortly after it opened in March 1990 because it was too close to a kindergarten, under the county's adult entertainment ordinance.

Just last week, a judge threw out the ordinance and Redner said he planned to reopen the lounge.