Florida Deputy Convicted for Sexually Assaulting Woman
UPDATE: May 13, 2015 – Matthew Donnelly was convicted.
A Florida deputy is accused of turning off his dashboard camera before using his fingers to penetrate the vagina of a woman who was passed out in a car.
But that didn’t stop prosecutors from charging Lake County sheriff’s deputy Matthew Vernon Donnelly.
After all, investigators found the woman’s DNA on the deputy’s flashlight, steering wheel and gear shifter.
The incident took place during the early hours of New Year’s Day 2014 after the woman and her boyfriend had been partying in a bar in Orlando.
The 26-year-old woman drank too much and blacked out, which scared her boyfriend. He pulled into a parking lot and flagged the deputy down, asking for help.
The boyfriend ended up placed in the back of his patrol car on suspicion of drunk driving while the deputy sexually assaulted the woman, telling her she was “fucking sexy,” according to the probable cause affidavit.
The affidavit also states that he told the woman not to say anything about penetrating her in exchange for him releasing her boyfriend.
The woman, who is not named, testified earlier today against Donnelly during the first day of his trial.
According to the Orlando Sentinel:
A prosecutor told the jury that the woman’s boyfriend had flagged down the deputy for help after she became unresponsive on the way home from a night of celebrating in Orlando.
The woman testified that the deputy was at the couple’s SUV when she woke up. Afraid her boyfriend would be arrested for drunken driving, she pleaded with Donnelly to let them leave, she said.
Donnelly then reached through the Escalade window, groped her and promised her boyfriend’s freedom in exchange for her cooperation, according to her court testimony.
The woman said it was difficult to wrap her mind around what had happened.
“It’s a cop,” she said. “That doesn’t happen, right?”
Donnelly was arrested less than a month after the incident. He was fired shortly afterwards.
Investigators from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement reviewed the dashboard camera footage from Donnelly’s cruiser, but found that it had been deactivated for about 22 minutes.
Besides finding DNA that matched the woman’s on Donnelly’s flashlight and his cruiser’s steering wheel and gear shifter.
The woman also participated in a sexual assault examination, which found that she had suffered a cervical injury.
But Donnelly’s attorney suggested today that she was too drunk to remember any details from that evening.
Donnelly, 37, who stands at 6’4″, faces life in prison if convicted. A verdict is expected tonight.