Once upon a time, Ft. Lauderdale considered Jonathan Bleiweiss an ally. He was a gay sheriff’s deputy who countered discrimination within his own department. And then it came to light that he was sexually assaulting male illegal immigrants he placed under arrest.
Bleweiss, 29, appears to be a creature of habit. His victims were often helpless (illegal immigrants aren’t inclined to run to the police to complain) and assaulted during early morning traffic stops. They were coerced into handing over cell phone numbers and into meeting up for “casual encounters” at later dates.
He would act like a jilted lover when the men would not return his calls or text messages, according to those records, based on victims’ accounts.
Bleiweiss, arrested Monday, faces 14 charges, among them three counts of sexual battery by a person in authority, four counts of battery and one count of stalking. He’s accused of intimidating at least eight men in his Oakland Park patrol district into performing sex acts with him during traffic stops.
[…] Investigators said they opened the case in April, after learning a deputy was committing the assaults. Officials on Tuesday declined to say when Bleiweiss became a suspect.
He was removed from road patrol in mid-July, only after there was substantive proof to make a case, said Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Veda Coleman-Wright.
The court documents state the men positively identified Bleiweiss from a photo lineup starting in July.
Though we do love this defense:
Eric Schwartzreich, the deputy’s attorney, said, “I do point out that they are allegations by undocumented aliens, that at this point in time I’m not seeing any physical evidence to support the allegations.”
Physical evidence would be hard to come by here, wouldn’t it?
Court records show most of the alleged attacks followed a pattern: The victims were fondled during pat-downs following early-morning traffic stops.
Some were coerced to give up cell phone numbers and agreed to meet for future sexual encounters. In all cases, the men told investigators they felt they could not refuse the uniformed deputy’s demands without a reprisal.
According to the affidavit, an illegal immigrant from Mexico told an investigator he endured five different incidents with Bleiweiss between April 22 and June 7.
The man said Bleiweiss fondled him and whispered Spanish obscenities before molesting him. After the incident, Bleiweiss allegedly continued to call and text message the man days later, pressuring him to meet up again.