August 14, 2011

Former probation officer charged with falsifying records

8-14-2011 Florida:

Officials: P.C. woman tried to hide her lack of monitoring of sex offenders

PANAMA CITY — A former probation officer has been fired and charged with falsifying records and petit theft for allegedly falsifying documents to hide her negligence in her role in monitoring area sex offenders.

Stephanie Turner, 50, of Panama City, worked 22 years as a probation officer for the Florida Department of Corrections (DOC) before she was fired and charged with the two misdemeanors. She was arraigned Monday.

Investigators said Turner filed reports and expense reimbursement requests to indicate she made home visits to six registered sexual offenders Jan. 31. The six people she claimed to have visited provided sworn statements that the records were false, according to court records.

At least one of the individuals Turner was assigned to monitor was designated a sexual predator. Sexual predators are considered more dangerous and more likely to reoffend than sexual offenders.

Turner referred questions to her attorney, Ben Bollinger, who declined comment Friday. DOC officials did not comment but provided documentation pertaining to the investigation. The DOC paperwork recommending her dismissal was dated July 28.

According to a disciplinary worksheet provided by DOC, Turner had two previous disciplinary actions on file with DOC, both for negligence. She received a written reprimand March 9, 2006, and she was suspended 10 days Oct. 20, 2006.

The document says Turner had a “critical credibility issue” and recommended she be terminated.

According the criminal complaint:

Turner was assigned to supervision of sex offenders and had not completed the minimum number of personal contacts required for the month of January. She turned in an itinerary and travel log that showed contacts with offenders and was reimbursed $13.27 for mileage.

The individuals under Turner’s supervision said she had contacted them that day over the telephone but didn’t appear at their residences. Cellphone records confirmed their statements.

Turner has pleaded not guilty. Her next court appearance is scheduled for Sept. 15. ..Source.. by CHRIS OLWELL / News Herald Writer

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