OAKLAND PARK – The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) has found cause to support allegations that a then Broward Sheriff’s Office deputy fondled a woman and masturbated in her Oakland Park apartment –all while on duty.
An FDLE standards committee took up the case of the deputy Angel Pagan on Aug. 10.
“Probable cause was found,” said Kristi Gordon, a spokeswoman with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. “He has not lost his standards [certifications]. It will now proceed to the full committee to decide.”
Pagan is now facing the possibility of being stripped of his state-issued detention and law enforcement certifications, which allow him to work in those fields in Florida. FDLE’s Criminal Justice Standards & Training Commission will now determine what, if any, action should be taken against Pagan. Gordon said the date and time of that proceeding has yet to be scheduled.
Efforts to reach Pagan for comment were unsuccessful.
Prosecutors, who declined to file charges against Pagan, acknowledged the woman informed them of her fear and becoming ill with ulcers, but concluded that the incident was consensual.
“There is no evidence that Deputy Pagan had notice of any kind that his touching of [the victim] was against her will given that she continued to kiss and embrace him. The conduct in this case, given the seemingly consensual nature of the encounter, does not fit the statutory requirements,” Assistant State Attorney Stacy Schulman wrote in her memo closing the case.
“While [the victim’s] intimidation by Deputy Pagan is understandable, without evidence that he knowingly forced himself on her or exposed himself to her in an offensive way, there are no criminal charges warranted so this matter is closed,” Schulman wrote.
The South Florida Times is not revealing the identity of the 43-year-old woman, who filed a complaint with BSO internal affairs on Sept. 30, 2010.
The woman then sought counseling through Women in Distress and went into hiding, according to her attorney, Andrew Y. Winston of the Fort Lauderdale firm, Lawlor, Winston, White, & Murphey.
“It is tragic and absolutely outrageous that this officer would force himself on this woman under color of his authority as a police officer,” Winston said. “This has turned her life upside down. She is terrified.”
Pagan was hired as a detention deputy in 2001. At the time of the allegations, he was recently promoted to a patrol deputy, earning a $59,450.38 annual salary and subject to a 1-year probation. He was fired on March 29 of this year prior to the completion of an internal affairs investigation into the allegations.
The official reason for his termination was failure to successfully complete his probation. However, his dismissal came after the woman, whom he met while on patrol in Oakland Park, made the allegations. Just days after meeting him, she accused him of groping and masturbating in front of her.
According to the case summary, the woman said she met Pagan on Sept. 23 while she and a friend were out walking a dog. Pagan pulled up in his squad car and they struck up a conversation and eventually exchanged phone numbers. The next night, she sent him a text message asking how he was doing. Hours later, at 1:30 a.m., he showed up at her door, in full uniform. It was raining, so she said she let him inside. She told investigators he immediately began kissing her.
“She stated that she told Pagan that he was moving too fast for her, but he persisted and then pulled her shirt down and started kissing her breast,” the FDLE probable cause document states. “She indicated that she tried to pull away, but he was too strong, at which point Pagan said, ‘I can’t go now’ and indicated that he had an erection.”
Some of the details provided are too graphic and explicit for publication, but the case summary further states that Pagan masturbated while holding the victim close to him and requested tissue for the semen.
“Pagan then asked the victim to help him out, at which time he grabbed the victim’s hand and forced it to his penis, but she refused and pulled away. He then took his penis out of his pants and proceeded to masturbate in front of the victim,” the summary says.
As part of the internal affairs investigation, a phone call between the woman and Pagan was secretly recorded. During that conversation, Pagan apologized and said, “It won’t be like that again.”
Charges of criminal battery and exposing sexual organs were forwarded to the Broward State Attorney’s Office against Pagan.
The woman provided a statement to prosecutors and told investigators she felt intimidated by Pagan because “he had his weapons on him” and that she tried to “pull away” and told him, “No, no.” Then she called prosecutors back and informed them of her fears again and that she had become ill due to the stress and did not want to proceed or participate any further.
Prosecutors did not pursue criminal charges against Pagan.
Winston said his client has become emotionally “fragile” after the encounter with Pagan. He said she moved from her apartment out of fear and became sick to the point she was physically unable to continue in the process.
He also indicated he could ask prosecutors to reopen the criminal case and that he has communicated with the Broward Sheriff’s Office and may file a lawsuit.
“It is entirely up to her. A year after the incident, she is not entirely comfortable. We are working in the best interest of our client slowly and delicately, because she truly has been traumatized by this,” Winston said.