BSO deputy charged with sex crimes
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (WSVN) -- Just months after being named employee of the year, a Broward Sheriff's Office deputy was arrested and charged with sexual battery, among other charges.
Tuesday morning, Jonathan Bleiweiss, 29, faced a judge who formerly charged him with 14 counts including sexual battery, armed forced imprisonment and stalking. "You have several serious charges against you," said Judge John Hurley at the hearing.
During a press conference Monday, Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti said the 29-year-old, who has been with the force for seven years, preyed on some of the most vulnerable people in the community: undocumented immigrants. Lamberti went on to say that Bleiweiss took advantage of their fear of deportation.
The attorney representing Bleiweiss said his client is the victim. "This officer is an openly gay officer, who's an advocate in the gay community, who's out in the gay community and there are people, civilians, people he arrests, people that he comes in contact with that could have issues and that could have something that they want to start or bone to pick," said Eric Schwartzreich.
Lamberti said, on April 23, Bleiweiss approached the victim in his marked cruiser and asked for identification. Then he put the 30-year-old against his unit, reached down his pants and underwear and groped him. "He crossed the line to the point where this was a criminal investigation," Lamberti said.
Neighbors are shocked by the news of the deputy's arrest. "Jon has been an awesome neighbor, always been there for us, and I could not even imagine that being him," said Francis Claudio Boza.
Authorities said Bleiweiss will also face additional charges that stem from seven additional victims. The investigation continues.
Bleiweiss is being held without bond at the Broward County jail, and he has been suspended without pay.
If you feel that you have been victimized by Bleiweiss, police want you to call 954-321-4240.
(Copyright 2009 by Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)