Robert Mocarski, a Fort Lauderdale police officer, is under criminal investigation over allegations by a woman that he pressured her to have sex with him, including in his patrol car.
Fort Lauderdale police Internal Affairs investigators are also looking into allegations that he used law enforcement databases to run checks on visitors to the woman’s home.
Investigators are also probing allegations that Mocarski, 47, received payment for off-duty work at a car dealership but did not show up for the assignments.
Tim Donnelly, head of the public corruption unit, said it is an open investigation, Broward State Attorney’s Office spokesman Ron Ishoy said in an e-mail response to questions from South Florida Times.
“We're not in a position to discuss,” Ishoy added.
Mocarski could not be reached for comment. Telephone calls to his home seeking comment were not answered. On Sept. 7, he was placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
According to news reports, Nicole Yocovelli, 29, of Fort Lauderdale, told Internal Affairs investigators in August that Mocarski was pressuring her into having sex while he was on duty. She said he was aware she had problems with the law in the past and used that information to force her into sexual encounters, which at times took place in his squad car.
Records on file with the Broward County Clerk of the Courts show Yocovelli was arrested for driving under the influence and failing to maintain her vehicle in a single lane on July 4, 2009. She was also cited for failing to use due care on March 4, 2010. Those cases are closed but she reportedly met Mocarski when he responded to a domestic violence call at her home earlier this year.
Through her attorney, Yocovelli declined to comment.
“I do represent Ms. Yocovelli and have spoken to her about this issue,” attorney Shlomi Presser said in an e-mail to South Florida Times. “At this time, she does not wish to make any statements about these allegations.”
But her complaint prompted an Internal Affairs investigation by Fort Lauderdale Police and the preliminary findings spurred the State Attorney’s Office to launch the criminal probe.
Meanwhile, according to sources, Internal Affairs investigators have confirmed Mocarski accessed statewide and national law enforcement databases to run background checks and obtain other personal information, including driver license photographs, on people who visited Yocovelli’s home.
DAVID — the Driver And Vehicle Information Database — is one of the systems Mocarski is alleged to have accessed without authorization. It is maintained by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and contains driver’s license data and other information on millions of people who have driver’s licenses and vehicles registered in the state.
Police spokesman Sgt. Frank Sousa said those databases are for official business only. Barry Butin, a criminal defense attorney and co-chairman of the Broward County chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union’s legal panel, said accessing the databases “would violate the privacy rights of the person subject to having their records checked by the office.”
“There is a tort action for invasion of privacy,” Butin said.
Investigators also found that while Mocarski was supposed to be working at a car dealership, his police cruiser, at times, was parked instead at his home and other locations, including a hotel.
Investigators analyzed data from the Automated Vehicle Locator, a global positioning satellite device installed in Mocarski’s squad car. The AVL has the capability to show a vehicle’s location and other information, including the speed it was traveling or if it was parked or idling at any given time.
It has not been determined exactly how many hours of alleged loafing may be involved but Mocarski was paid $35 per hour to work nights at AutoNation’s Maroone dealerships in the 1300 block of North Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale.
Prosecutors are tryng to determine if Mocarski’s absences from those assignments reach the level a crime, or amounted to theft.
AutoNation spokesman Marc Cannon could not be reached for comment.
The Internal Affairs investigation has also found that Mocarski allegedly parked his police cruiser in an out-of-sight location several times and was videotaped with Yocovelli inside it on one occasion.
The probe now seeks to determine if calls Mocarski made to dispatchers indicating he was checking out suspects and other situations but did not require back up, correspond with the times his police car was parked at that location, his home or the hotel.
Citing the ongoing status of the case, officials with Mocarski’s union declined comment.
“I really can’t comment because of the investigation,” said Jack Lokiensky, president of the Fraternal Order of Police.
Mocarksi has been with the department a total of 15 years. He was first hired in 1993 and worked two years before resigning in 2005 to pursue other endeavors. He returned to the department in 2007 and is assigned to the uniform road patrol division, earning $75,878.40 annually.
Police spokesman Sousa said while on leave Mocarski is not allowed to work off-duty detail assignments and is barred from going to the police department or any other city building.
He was also required to surrender his badge and other department equipment.
Elgin Jones may be reached at: EJones@SFLTimes.com.