NORTH PORT, Fla. – Former North Port police officer Melanie Turner will not face charges in connection with an alleged sexual assault at a party attended by various on and off-duty police officers.
The State Attorney’s Office made the announcement Monday, issuing an 11 page report sharing the office’s rationale for not pursuing a case against Turner. The report contains lurid details of the March 2nd party, and references cell phone video taken by some of the guests.
ABC 7 has obtained one of the cell phone videos (see video below), offering a glimpse into what went on there that night. According to the State Attorney, the video was taken just moments before for the alleged sexual assault.
In the video you can see Officer Turner and Officer Urbina handcuffing a firefighter who’s also attending the party. The handcuffs were later removed, with Turner and Urbina then handcuffing the victim and leading her into a back bedroom. The video ends before the alleged assault took place.
But in an 11 page memo, the State Attorney's Office says there wasn't enough evidence to pursue.
"I’m happy that the State Attorney's Office did the right thing,” said attorney Eric Risinger, who represented both Turner and officer Ricky Urbina. Urbina took his own life in March 20, rather than face the investigation.
“I feel that was the only choice they could have done,” Risinger says. “Unfortunately for my former client who’s now deceased it’s too late, but in Ms. Melanie Turner case the charges are dropped and hopefully she can put this ordeal behind her."
The memo detailed six reasons for not pursing the charges, among them the fact that victim and Turner had a prior romantic relationship. There was also the state’s contention that, “The victims behaviors could have be interpreted as consenting to the activity.”
It’s a contention that victim attorney Andrea Mogensen disagrees with.
"It doesn’t make any difference what her history was with this person, what her reputation was, what other actions she's done -- no means no," Mogensen says.
In disputing the State Attorney's decision not to move forward with the charges, Mogensen says her client was victimized
"Just because the State Attorney's Office is not going to prosecute does not mean a crime was not committed," Mogensen says.
In the meantime, Risinger also stands by his clients.
"[Turner] fabricated the story so her boyfriend wouldn't get mad at her," Risinger said.