Broward deputy faces additional sexual assault charges

August 25, 2009 by  
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Deputy Jonathan Bleiweiss, accused of preying on homeless men and illegal immigrants, remains jailed without bail

BROWARD COUNTY – A Broward sheriff’s deputy who was arrested on charges he stalked and sexually assaulted men searched police records to obtain photos and personal data on more than two dozen men and five prisoners he met while on duty, court documents show.

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Investigators found the information, printed from law enforcement databases, in a wooden chest in Deputy Jonathan Bleiweiss’ bedroom, according to a search warrant filed Monday in Broward Circuit Court. The printouts also carried added notations, for instance “HOT JEEP GUY” and “HOT GUY IN TOYOTA ECHO,” said investigators, who matched the printouts to an activity log on Bleiweiss’ computer at work.

Bleiweiss, 29, initially faced 15 criminal charges stemming from one man’s allegations, but on Monday prosecutors added seven counts — including stalking, armed false imprisonment and sexual battery — relating to a second man’s statement. At least six other men have levied allegations against Bleiweiss, saying the deputy fondled, assaulted, threatened and harassed them. The men are all undocumented immigrants and almost didn’t report the incidents because they feared reprisal, officials said.

The second man told investigators that Bleiweiss pulled him over early one morning in April or May in Oakland Park and ordered him to sit in the backseat of the patrol car, where Bleiweiss then reportedly performed oral sex on him.

“Immediately afterwards, Jonathan Bleiweiss grabbed his flashlight and radio and exited the vehicle, asking [the victim] if he would like to do it again in the future,” Detective Graciela Benito wrote in an arrest report released Tuesday.

The alleged victim said that Bleiweiss pulled him over again three days later and fondled him.

Investigators said they could find no written record of the traffic stops.

Bleiweiss has been held at the Broward County Jail without bond since his arrest Aug. 3.

He remains employed by the Sheriff’s Office but has been suspended without pay. The criminal investigation is ongoing, as is an internal investigation by the Sheriff’s Office.

Before his arrest, Bleiweiss’ image was that of an openly gay deputy who excelled at his job and was a leader in the local gay community.

After his arrest, though, homeless men and undocumented immigrants in Oakland Park have come forward to tell reporters that they despised and feared Bleiweiss because he often harassed them for no reason.

Revenge Plot Leaves Teen in Frigid Wildnerness

January 31, 2009 by  
Filed under National News, Top Stories

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NORTH BERGEN, N.J. – A 19-year-old woman who thought she was going to a party was instead driven to a rural wooded area and abandoned in 8-degree weather in a long-planned attack by three friends who were angry with her.

The victim was wearing only a dress and one shoe, having lost the other in a struggle as she was dragged from the car, said Lt. Frank Cannella of the North Bergen police.

A motorist soon stopped and let the victim use a cell phone but refused to give her a lift.

The victim used the phone to call one of the women who abandoned her, Cannella said.

She spent more than an hour in the freezing cold before flagging down another motorist, who took her to a hospital, he said.

The North Bergen woman, whom police did not identify, may need surgery after suffering frostbite to both feet Jan. 16 in Alpine, a town on the Hudson River about 18 miles north of New York City, Cannella said.

“These actions were so profound that it leads you to believe there was a tremendous indifference to human life,” Cannella said.

Maria Contreras-Luciano, 22, of Dumont, and Amber Crespo, 20, and Dyanne Velasquez, 21, both of North Bergen, face kidnapping, assault and conspiracy charges and are free on $200,000 bail.

Crespo is also charged with making terroristic threats.

The women planned the attack for more than a month, Cannella said.

The suspects wanted revenge after the 19-year-old sued Crespo’s auto insurance carrier after a car accident, he said, adding that he didn’t have details about the accident or claim.

Marvin Walden, attorney for Crespo, said his client had no idea what she was getting into and was not part of any conspiracy.

He said the dispute was between one of the other women and the victim and was about a man, not an insurance claim.

“My client thought she was going to a rap concert,” Walden said. “There was no intent on her part, or discussion beforehand, about participating in anything resembling a kidnapping.”

The victim arrived at Crespo’s home to meet up with the three women and then drive together to a party, according to authorities.

She noted that her friends weren’t dressed for a party but was reassured by their words and by an evening dress on a hanger inside the car.

The incident didn’t come to the attention of police until the victim reported it Jan. 20.

A man identified as Contreras-Luciano’s boyfriend was arrested on suspicion of hindering apprehension after he declined to turn his car over to investigators, police said.

Police believe his car was used in the attack.