Bartow, Florida - Former Lakeland Police Officer Julio Pagan, 31, will stay behind bars for now. That was the decision handed down by a Polk County judge during a bond hearing today in Bartow.
Pagan was arrested in late September on two counts of sexual battery and one count of stalking. He's accused of forcing a woman to have sex with him while he was on duty in uniform, and detectives say her children were nearby. In addition, he's accused of stalking her.
What made today's hearing so important is that the alleged victim in this case, a single working mother, faced the officer in court and testified, giving graphic details as to what happened.
Pagan shook his head as he heard the woman telling her side of the story. She said, "He kept asking for sex. It was non-stop. He begged for a quickie."
Today's hearing laid the groundwork and the debate on whether or not Pagan should remain in jail.
Pagan's attorney claims there's
no physical evidence, no DNA, and no witnesses in this case. In addition, the defense
claims the alleged victim has a lengthy criminal history, that she's done time in
prison and is an alcoholic. The state says it doesn't matter what her
past is and that she is the victim of sexual assault at the hands of an
So, for now, Pagan remains behind bars, and the judge will make her ruling at a later date.
Lakeland Police Chief Lisa Womack spoke about his arrest. "There are simply no words to describe my shock, my outrage, my disgust about this."
The chief says the case leaves her frustrated.
"This is not a departmental issue," she said pausing for moment, "You want to know how I feel about it? Fed up."
This case dates back to a time right in the middle of the department's highly publicized sex scandal.
Investigators say Officer Pagan responded to a July 4th call near a trailer park and that's where he first met the alleged victim.
Six weeks later, during another call, the woman says Pagan coerced
her to have sex with him in her bathroom while he was still armed, in
uniform, and on duty. The alleged victim says three weeks later, Pagan, again on-duty, was
back asking her for a "quickie," according to the police report.
Detectives say the woman tried to set up a situation where 911 would be called when she was with the officer away from her home, hoping that another patrol car would be waiting when they returned. She says she wanted to show a pattern of abuse with Pagan.
In fact, surveillance video shows Pagan's cruiser pulling up to a nearby
Circle K store, where images, say detectives, show the woman trying to buy
alcohol before both return to her house.
Investigators say Pagan then came back a second time on that same
date, August 29, but that the woman made an excuse to fend off his
advances and called police to complain about Pagan's visits.
But, no one ever showed up to help the alleged victim, she claims. The 911 dispatcher, identified as Christinia Jordan, now on administrative leave, never sent an officer.
"I have no valid explanation as to at this point why that that did
not occur," said Chief Womack. An investigation into the matter was
"about 90%" complete, she said.
The victim, who never had a police officer respond, got another uninvited visit from Pagan about three weeks later. Relatives called to complain yet again, and this time Lakeland sent an investigator.
Austin Garcia, a neighbor, says a short time later, the trailer park area was visited by multiple officers.
"I did see a couple of squad cars go over there and stuff, like about
5 or 6 of them," he said. "They stayed there about an hour or two and
Chief Womack says she knows the public is already commenting about
how this may yet again be an example of the "culture" within Lakeland
PD, but she took issue with that assertion.
This was not a departmental culture issue, she said. It's a crime.
Pagan, she said, will likely be formally fired over the next couple of days.
He faces life in prison if convicted.