LIVE VIDEO: Live Newscast    Watch
 
BREAKING NEWS: Unrest continues in Ferguson    Watch
 

Susan Eberle, woman at center of Lakeland Police sex scandal, comes forward

4:27 PM, Jul 3, 2013   |    comments
  • Share
  • Print
  • - A A A +

Video: Press Conference: Woman at center of Lakeland PD sex scandal

Susan Eberle (center) has reluctantly become the face of the sex scandal rocking the Lakeland Police department. With her husband Ed (left) clutching her hand for support, Eberle decided to go public, announcing through her attorney (right) that they had filed charges with the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Florida Commission on Human rights.

 

Palm Harbor, FL --  It's probably been the worst kept secret in Lakeland.

The woman at the center of the police department's sex scandal came forward on Wednesday.

Susan Eberle's attorney in Palm Harbor spoke on the 37-year-old's behalf, calling it one of the worst case of sexual harassment he'd ever seen in his three decades of legal work.

"Sue Eberle was forced to work in an environment rife with sexual innuendo, sexual proposition, sexual advances and unwelcomed sexual assault and battery," said attorney David Linesch.

Eberle has reluctantly become the face of the sex scandal rocking the Lakeland Police department. With her husband Ed clutching her hand for support, Eberle decided to go public, announcing through her attorney that they had filed charges with the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Florida Commission on Human rights.

The allegations include "false imprisonment, assault and battery as well as gross sexual harassment," said Linesch.
 
An FDLE investigation found that Eberle first had consensual sex with co-workers at Lakeland PD, but that the relationships became increasingly abusive.

Eberle told investigators she had been a victim of incest from the time she was a child, and thatshe felt she couldn't say "no."

"This obviously was exacerbated by the fact that the individuals engaging in this sexual harassment and assault toward her were sworn officers," said Linesch.

Police Chief Lisa Womack, who inherited the sex scandal, says her department is doing all it can to weed out the problem officers and supervisors. A dozen officers have left or resigned since Womack took over the two and half years ago.

Linesch says they've not yet filed suit against the department. They're willing to talk about reaching a financial settlement, he says.

"Or not. If not, we will do what we need to do."

From controversial bra-shaking during traffic stops to sex on the job, the culture at the Lakeland Police Department, they say, must change.

Residents call it an embarrassment. Susan Eberle calls it something far worse.

"She was a target. She was weak. And they knew that they could take advantage of that and so they preyed upon her. They preyed upon her and that's what's so sick about it," said Linesch.

Eberle says she's coming forward now so that this doesn't happen to anyone else in the future.

On Tuesday, the Polk County Legislative Delegation recommended Sheriff Grady Judd step in to make what they call the proper reforms.

Sheriff Judd declined an interview on Wednesday, but said he would make his agency available if needed.

Recent Lakeland PD stories

You may also like...

George Zimmerman Trial: Full coverage of the Trayvon Martin shooting

Bra Shaking: Police investigated for making woman shake her bra

4 H8TERZ: Florida's rejected license plates

Shroomin: Man caught getting high on mushrooms with live gator in backpack

Hot robber: Pretty female robber wrestles giant clerk, wins

Mistaken Identity: Strip club fight leads to interstate shooting

Animal Cruelty: Man accused of killing, cooking family dog

Hooters Hotties: Beautiful women compete in 2013 Hooters swimsuit competition

My bad, Judge: Woman apologizes after flipping off judge

Teen Lesbian Support: Online support grows 18-year-old girl who had same-sex relationship with 15-year-old

Prostitute Roundup: 92 arrested in online sex sting

Yellow light bust: Florida shortens yellow lights to cause more red light tickets

Hottie Internet Convict: Woman behind mug shot meme sets the record straight

Homebrew Soda: Man claims to find Coca-Cola recipe, sells it on eBay

Waterspouts: Video, images show waterspouts coming ashore

Motorcycles and bikinis: Bikini bike wash!

Faces of Meth: Before and After pictures

Sex tape scandal: Miss Delaware Teen USA resigns

When neigh means neigh: Video shows man brutalizing, having sex with horse

Sex blog: Tampa area school CFO busted over her dirty sex porn blog *warning, GRAPHIC*

Nasty Nasty Dining: 10 of the nastiest restaurants in Tampa Bay in 2012

APP-tastic: Download the 10 News app for your iPad

Bikinis, mud, trucks: The Redneck Yacht Club

Outrageous mug shot galleries...

Strange: Some of the most unusual mug shots we've seen

Notorious Women: Bad girls behind bars

Teachers: Teacher arrest mugshots

Prostitutes: Prostitute mug shots

Porn arrests: Child porn arrest mug shots

Local Mugs: Hillsborough County Mug shots

More unusual mug shots and galleries: 10 News slideshows and galleries

Most Watched Videos