Broward deputy charged with fourteen felony counts

August 4, 2009 by  
Filed under Crime, Featured, National News, Politics, Special Report, Top Stories, Videos

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FORT LAUDERDALE, FL — The Broward County Sheriff has announced the arrest of a sheriff’s deputy on fourteen felony counts including sexual battery in a position of control or authority, armed kidnapping, stalking and battery.

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Jonathan Bleiweiss

Sheriff Al Lamberti says the deputy “betrayed his badge and abused his power.”

Deputy Jonathan Bleiweiss has been with Broward County Sheriff’s Department since 2002.

The Sheriff says Bleiweiss was targeting undocumented immigrants while on patrol in uniform, armed, in his patrol car.

According to the Sheriff, Deputy Bleiweiss would search for his victims, pull them over, and sexually batter them.

Sheriff Lamberti says the investigation began when an employer of one of the victims came forward with the allegations. Fort Lauderdale PD was contacted by an attorney and then notified BSO’s Sex Crimes Unit when they realized the incidents happened in Oakland Park.

The Sheriff’s Office says there are several victims and believes there are more.

In one case an adult male victim was waiting outside an apartment complex in Oakland Park for a ride to work. That’s when Sheriff Lamberti says Deputy Jonathan Bleiweiss approached in a marked BSO patrol car and requested his identification.

The victim told BSO Sex Crimes detectives that Deputy Bleiweiss placed him against the patrol unit and during the pat down placed his hand inside the victim’s underwear and groped him.

Investigators said during that encounter Dep. Bleiweiss demanded the victim’s cell phone number and proceeded to call and send him text messages. Similar sexual encounters continued until June.

The Sheriff’s Office wants victims to come forward and are urged to call Detective Graciela Benito at (954) 321-4249.

Bleiweiss is remains in BSO custody. He is currently suspended without pay and being held without bond, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Heath Miller Arrested for sex with girl, 14, fondling 3 more

April 21, 2009 by  
Filed under Featured, Latest Top Stories, Local News

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PALM BEACH GARDENS — A middle school music teacher who catapulted into the headlines when he shot dead a home intruder in his Wellington home has been arrested on charges of sexually molesting students at his Palm Beach Gardens middle school.

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School board police investigators on Monday arrested Heath Miller, 34, a teacher at H.L. Watkins Middle, on charges of sexual assault. A judge this morning ordered him held in detention until a judge is assigned to the case and can set bail.

The investigation began April 16 after one girl came forward with complaints that Miller touched her and three other girls inappropriately while on school grounds. The girls’ names have been removed from police reports because of their ages.

Follow-up interviews with the other girls eventually led to one of the three reporting that Miller touched her, kissed her and had sex with her twice in the school’s band uniform room in the first weeks of April, according to an arrest report.

Miller, the report notes, regularly drives this girl to school in the mornings and the girl reports they had sex after they arrived at campus in the morning.

In an interview with detectives, Miller admitted to kissing the student but denied any other inappropriate contact with any of the girls, according to the report.

Miller’s attorney, Barry Maxwell, said after Tuesday morning’s hearing that his client denies any contact with these girls. He said statements to the contrary in the arrest report are false.

“There are many different reasons these girls would lie,” he said.

He said the girl Miller is alleged to have had sex with at first denied a sexual relationship when investigators questioned her. The arrest report confirms this.

Prosecutors asked that Miller be held in jail without a bond. They said he has confronted the girls after they spoke to police and tried to get them not to discuss the alleged encounters.

Miller, the school’s band director, was voted Watkins Middle’s most popular teacher in 2007.

He was arrested Monday and booked into the Palm Beach County Jail. He made his first appearance before a judge Tuesday morning.

The member of a prominent Belle Glade family, he was in the news two months ago after he shot dead a masked intruder in his house in Wellington.

His father, Henry, owns Miller Funeral Home on Southwest Third Street. His mother served for more than a decade on the city commission and was mayor for at least one term in the early 2000s.

His attorney told the judge this morning that Miller is living temporarily with his parents. Miller’s mother and father, as well as his wife, were at the hearing this morning but declined to comment.

Heath Miller graduated from Glades Central High School in 1992 , where he was elected student council vice president. He graduated from Howard University in Washington with degrees in finance and music. As a freshman, he led the drum section of the college’s “Thunder” marching band.

At Watkins, Miller used to brag that he ran his band with military precision, saying he brought students in line by ordering them to do push-ups.

“The parents call me: ‘So-and-so needs push-ups,’ ” Miller once said.