A former Florida deputy has admitted in court to intimidating undocumented male immigrants into performing gay sex acts with him or risk being deported.
34-year-old Jonathan Bleiweiss, who is a well-known figure in Fort Lauderdale’s gay community, pleaded guilty to 14 counts of armed false imprisonment, 15 counts of battery, and four counts of stalking.
Approximately 20 illegal male immigrants told investigators that Bleiweiss preyed on them, molesting them during pat downs and then asking for their phone numbers, which many of the victims claim they felt powerless to refuse.
The incidents happened between August 2008 and July 2009, when Bleiweiss was finally removed from the police force for his alleged behavior.
He originally faced a total of more than 70 charges, many accusing him of sexual battery, which could have landed him several decades in prison, but prosecutors had to drop several of the charges. The problem, they say, is that many of Bleiweiss’ victims didn’t want to testify.
“I can understand that,” said prosecutor Neva Smith. “They are tired. They have been held hostage by this case for years. They have been tormented and teased in their community. They don’t want their faces on camera.”
Others, she added, “have since been deported.”
Yesterday, Broward Circuit Judge Michael Robinson sentenced Bleiweiss to five years in prison, plus ten years probation, as well ordered the ex-deputy to undergo a psycho-sexual evaluation. He will not, however, be required to register as a sex offender.
Many people feel the sentence is far too lenient.
“He’ll get out,” said attorney Alvin Entin. “He’ll be able to live the rest of his life. And he’ll do so without the stain of being a sexual predator.”
h/t: Sun Sentinal