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  1. Pinellas

East Lake firefighter faces human trafficking, child sex crime charges

East Lake Fire Rescue Lt. Matthew Doyle was arrested on charges of human trafficking, lewd and lascivious behavior on a victim between 12 and 16 years old, and unlawful use of a two-way communications device, according to Hernando County jail records. [Hernando County Sheriff’s Office]
Published May 17

An East Lake Fire Rescue lieutenant was jailed Thursday on human trafficking and child sex crime charges.

Lt. Matthew Doyle, 39, was arrested by Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents and booked into the Hernando County jail at about 9:50 a.m. Thursday, according to records.

He faces charges of human trafficking, lewd and lascivious behavior on a victim between 12 and 16 years old, and unlawful use of a two-way communications device. The Spring Hill resident was being held Thursday afternoon without bail.

East Lake Fire Chief Tom Jamison said he immediately suspended Doyle without pay, per department policy. Doyle has worked for the agency since December 2005. He oversaw a crew at Fire Station 56 at 1933 East Lake Road S.

"We were shocked by the arrest and the nature of the charges," Jamison said. "We certainly take them very seriously."

Clearwater Fire Fighters Association president Sean Becker, whose union represents East Lake firefighters, declined to comment.

Doyle was arrested the day before Hernando Sheriff Al Nienhuis was scheduled to hold a news conference at 10:30 a.m. Friday with Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody and other officials to discuss the details of a two-year investigation into human trafficking, according to the Sheriff's Office.

The investigation was completed this week and resulted in the arrests of several people. But sheriff's spokeswoman Denise Moloney declined to release more details about that investigation and the resulting arrests.

Contact Kathryn Varn at kvarn@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8913. Follow @kathrynvarn.

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