LAKELAND, Fla. -
When Florida's State Attorney implicated more than a dozen police officers in a sex scandal, the ABC Action News I-Team started digging.
We discovered that one of the highest-ranking officers named in the report has been investigated for unrelated issues time and time again.
Lt. Al Wilson appeared to be on the leadership fast track at Lakeland Police Department, rising through the ranks to head the traffic and special operations units.
But that was before Wilson became involved in the department's recent sex scandal.
“This sex scandal, I can't begin to tell you the various failures I think has occurred there,” said Lakeland Police Chief Lisa Womack, addressing the Lakeland Board of Commissioners last week.
Wilson is one of 20 officers and city employees accused of inappropriate sexual behavior with LPD Crime Analyst Sue Eberle, who is now threatening to file a lawsuit against the department.
The I-Team obtained a taped interview from the State Attorney's Office, in which Wilson admitted his involvement.
“Sue came into my office and she rubbed up against me and everything. And I touched Sue,” Wilson said in the interview. “I touched her in her private parts.”
Eberle reported other incidents in which Wilson touched her, forced her to touch him and invited himself to her hotel room.
“I have no idea what I was thinking. I was stupid. I know that I was not going to go over there and have sex with that woman,” said Lt. Wilson.
The I-Team has discovered the sex scandal is just the latest in a long list of questionable incidents involving Lt. Wilson.
Since 2007, we've discovered, Wilson has been the target of six other internal affairs investigations, documented in more than 1,800 pages of reports.
In 2008, Lt. Wilson was almost fired.
“Your chain of command has recommended that you be terminated from the city of lakeland as a police officer,” then-L.P.D. Chief Roger Boatner said in a pre-discipline hearing recording we obtained.
Wilson allowed his wife, L.P.D. Sgt. Felicia Wilson, to use his computer password to a give herself multiple overtime assignments she wasn't entitled to receive.
“It looks ugly. It is something that does not look good, especially a member of the management team,” Wilson said at that time.
Both Lt. Al Wilson and his wife Sgt. Felicia Wilson were suspended, but they appealed.
Their punishments were reduced to written reprimands.
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A few months later, Lt. Wilson was reprimanded again for falsifying records, allowing him to use unearned comp time to play golf.
Wilson was disciplined in 2009 for calling an officer a buffoon.
In a 2011 investigation, he was cleared of wrongdoing after three other officers complained he berated them.
Then last year, under the supervision of Chief Lisa Womack, a detective complained that Wilson encouraged her to lie in a case involving a burglary at Wilson's own cousin's house.
The detective said, “There were several lies to be included in the reports and affidavits and I had been directed to do so by Lt. Wilson."
A department sergeant reported hearing Wilson say "I don't give a damn about probable cause,” in reference to the burglary case, but the complaint was not sustained.
Lakeland's chief is now talking tough about bad behavior.
“I can certainly make sure that those who have dishonored the Lakeland badge and uniform will no longer be Lakeland Police Officers,” Womack said.
But while some involved in the scandal are on administrative leave, Lt. Al Wilson isn't.
He's going to work every day, serving modified duty at the department.
We contacted Lt. Wilson for comment, but he did not return our call.
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