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Former internal affairs sergeant resigns

Former Sheriff Jim Gillum's sergeant for internal affairs resigned last month after it was determined he had written a report containing false and misleading information about a 1991 record-tampering scandal, according to a Sheriff's Office report.

Doy Clinton Vaughn, who already had been demoted to patrol deputy by Sheriff Lee Cannon, was offered the choice of resignation or termination by Cannon's executive assistant, Harold Sample.

After reviewing the records of a re-investigation, Sample decided that Vaughn's actions had "compromised the integrity of the Internal Affairs process, himself as a certified law enforcement officer, and this agency."

Internal affairs is the bureau that investigates a department's own officers for possible violations of procedure. Vaughn, a 43-year-old former homicide detective, had served as the unit's sergeant until Gillum left office after losinghis re-election bid in 1992.

Vaughn was disciplined for an internal affairs report he completed in January 1992 about the department's troubled personnel division, which hires new employees.

The year before, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement found that about 60 personnel files in the division had contained backdated or altered information. Some employees were hired before their references from acquaintances and former employers were returned. Late returns were concealed with backdating.

Although the FDLE obtained testimony that two supervisors _ former bureau commander of administration James C. O'Keefe and former personnel director Nancy Grantham _ had ordered the alteration of documents, no criminal charges were filed.

O'Keefe, Grantham and former administrative Capt. John Morrison spent a month on administrative leave during the FDLE investigation.

In his investigation for procedural lapses, Vaughn found that O'Keefe and Morrison had failed in their supervisory duties. Vaughn cleared Grantham in the same report.

But an investigator for Professional Standards, the new name Cannon has given to Internal Affairs, found Vaughn's report did not account for conflicts in Grantham's statements. Moreover, he found Vaughn's line of questioning with Grantham allowed her "to avoid accepting responsibility" concerning personnel problems.

Grantham was fired in March after Professional Standards determined she had been untruthful during the tampering re-investigation.

While conceding that his report had been a "smoke screen," Vaughn said Gillum, not he, bore overall responsibility for the scope and conclusions of the investigation.

In his interview with investigators, Vaughn said he failed to speak his mind to Gillum because he had a family to support and was afraid of being fired.

"I've never lied . . . never in this agency," Vaughn said. "I wouldn't do it. . . . That's my code. . . . If I was going to lie, I would have lied about Jeffrey Crouch and got him convicted. . . . I don't lie."

Jeffrey Crouch, a New Port Richey shrimper, was charged in 1987 with murdering his wife, Jean. But a judge dropped the charge after ruling an alleged confession had been obtained involuntarily and illegally from Crouch. Vaughn was one of the deputies subsequently named in a $5-million false-arrest lawsuit Crouch filed in federal court.

Gillum did not return a telephone message left Friday seeking comment on Vaughn's assertions.