By ELGIN JONES
'Quest For Justice'
FORT LAUDERDALE – A second law enforcement agency has opened an investigation into a Broward Sheriff's Office sergeant who is accused of falsifying a report that led to a lieutenant's firing.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) is investigating Sgt. Mary Guess, who is already under criminal investigation by prosecutors with the Broward State Attorney's Office related to the same issue.
The 30-year BSO eteran, who has spent the last 14 years in the Internal Affairs Division, is being investigated for allegedly falsifying a report targeting former BSO Lieutenant James Murray.
FDLE confirmed the investigation but would not provide any details.
"We have an active investigation going on relating to this case, thus we are precluded to talk about it," said Keith Kameg, FDLE communications coordinator.
Guess's attorney, Eric Schwartzreich, expressed confidence that she would be vindicated. "We welcome any and all investigations," he said. "Based on what I know about the case, Sgt. Mary Guess will be cleared. She is above reproach and I'm confident of the outcome."
He said he had not yet been contacted, adding, "I have reviewed the file and I didn't see anything she did wrong."
Guess wrote her July 2009 report following her investigation of Murray, who then headed BSO's Strategic Investigations Division. The report's findings included a claim that Murray downloaded "sexually explicit" material from "adult" websites. Based on the findings, BSO suspended Murray in October 2009 and fired him in January 2010.
The termination has gone before an independent arbitrator, who has not yet ruled. During the arbitration hearing, Guess admitted Murray did not visit any pornographic sites. On cross examination, she admitted including unsubstantiated rumors in the report, even though a witness to whom they were attributed provided to her a statement saying they were untrue.
Guess also refers several times in her report to "wiping," which is the erasing of material from a computer's hard drive. However, a BSO computer technician testified at the hearing that Murray's computer had not been wiped.
Guess has not been reassigned or suspended and continues in her regular duties. BSO did not respond to questions about the new FDLE investigation or provide the reasons why Guess has not been reassigned, as is routine for most employees under investigation.
*Pictured above is Broward Sheriff's Office Sgt. Mary Guess.