NORTH PORT, Fla. -- It’s a scandal that rocked the North Port Police Department and the community. Back on March 20, North Port Police Officer Melanie Turner was arrested and charged with principal to sexual battery after an incident at a party attended by several members of the department.
In the 49 days since her arrest, the State Attorney's Office has been investigating to see if they will be picking up those charges. Now there’s word that Turner could see the charges against her dropped.
"We're expecting that the charges against Ms. Turner will be declined," says attorney Andrea Flynn Mogensen, who’s currently representing the victim in the case. She says her client was sexually violated and fears those who committed the crime won’t be held responsible.
"It’s clear to me there is a person who's a victim and it's a serious crime allegedly committed by someone who had a very, very high responsibility to protect the community from crime," Morgensen says.
According to the incident report, the victim was handcuffed and led to the master bedroom by Melanie Turner and uniformed Officer Ricky Urbina. The victim says she was violated by both officers once in the bedroom. Turner was soon in custody, while Urbina took his own life after finding out he was about to be charged.
The news that charges against Turner might soon be dropped has Morgensen reacting.
"This appears once again that there is a double standard for law enforcement officers, and it really raises the question of are law enforcement officers above the law," she says.
But the State Attorney's Office disagrees. While they would not confirm or deny the state of the charges, they did give ABC 7 the following statement:
“A very thorough follow-up investigation is being conducted, and a decision on whether the charges will be picked up will be made in one to two weeks.”
We also reached out the Turner’s attorney, Eric Reisinger, though he was not able to comment on the matter. In a previous interview, Reisinger did tell us that his client did nothing wrong and that information exonerating her would eventually come to light.
"She was always off duty and she wasn't committing crimes, lets put it that way," he said.