Broward County, FL — A former Florida police officer has admitted to forcing undocumented immigrants into having sex with him.
Jonathan Bleiweiss, 34, pleaded guilty to an array of charges last week, admitting to 14 counts of armed false imprisonment, 15 counts of battery and four counts of stalking. However, he avoided all of the charges with “sex” in them.
Most likely due to his police officer status, this former Broward Sheriff’s deputy was given an insultingly lenient plea deal. As part of that deal, Bleiweiss did not face charges of sexual battery, and as such will not be required by the state of Florida to register as a sex offender.
A group of approximately 20 undocumented immigrants alleged that Bleiweiss, harassed them, molested them during pat-downs, and threatened them with deportation if they refused to perform sex acts.
Eerily enough, just after this officer was named Employee of the Year for his district, Bleiweiss told the South Florida Blade newspaper that early in his career one of his supervisors taunted him by calling him “sex offender,” for being openly gay.
However, the label, now fitting, will not be applied. Bleiweiss was sentenced to five years in jail and ten years of probation but avoided the sex offender designation altogether.
Undocumented immigrant workers are often targeted by unscrupulous individuals as they have very little recourse when trying to report crimes committed against them, because of their “illegal” status. Bleiweiss likely chose this vulnerable group of people to violate and abuse, for this reason.
In the end, Bleiweiss was charged with arbitrary battery charges relating to patdowns he conducted while on duty; nothing else.
Broward Public Defender Howard Finkelstein called the outcome, “shocking and shameful to the whole county.”
The Sun-Sentinel reported on another contrasting case that played out in court on the same day as Bleiweiss’ deal. Eric Beasley, 25, a former high school teacher from Broward, was sentenced to 20 years in prison after admitting to having a sexual relationship with an underage student, a 14-year-old girl.
Both men obviously abused their positions of authority, and both men victimized underage teens. But only one of them did it to multiple victims. Only one of them carries a badge and a gun and throws people in prison for the same crimes he committed. And, only one of them was able to get special privileges for their depravity. The cop.
The original investigation began in April of 2009 after multiple complaints were brought against Bleiweiss. However, he was allowed to stay on the job for several months after. During those several months, Bleiweiss racked up more victims, including the underage teen.
Finkelstein pointed out the double standard, “If this had been a teacher accused of sexually assaulting a student, all it would take is one complaint and they’d be removed from the classroom and charged…These cases show there are two sets of standards — one for police and another for the general public.”
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