Lakeland Fire Inspector David Bivens resigns after allegations of sexual misconduct

LAKELAND, Fla. - Another Lakeland city employee has resigned in the wake of a recent sex scandal involving a civilian employee of the Lakeland Police Department.

David Bivens submitted his termination today prior to a scheduled pre-disciplinary hearing.

The LPD Office of Professional Standards completed an investigation and discovered several policy violations, including unethical conduct, conduct off duty that impacts the workplace, willful neglect of performance duties, falsification of employee work records and making false claims of sick leave.

"Basically he wanted to use my body for his gratification," Sue Eberle, the woman at the center of the scandal told investigators, describing her seven year sexual relationship with Bivens.

In an recorded interview with investigators obtained by the I-Team, Bivens admitted to that relationship.

Bivens, also a sworn arson investigator, resigned today in lieu of termination after serving the fire department for 23 years.



Lakeland's city manager and fire chief addressed the issues surrounding the investigation this afternoon.

"I am very sad and disappointed that any member of our fire department would conduct themselves in this matter," said Lakeland Fire Chief Gary Ballard. "His individual actions should not be viewed in any way, shape or form as representative of the dedicated men and women of the Lakeland Fire Department."

One of the more outrageous admissions Bivens made involved having sex with Eberle while in uniform and while on departmental funeral leave immediately after the funeral of Officer Arnulfo Crispin, who was killed in the line of duty in late 2011

"As the day progressed, we ended up later in the afternoon in the parking lot and had sex there, in the south parking lot of the Lakeland Civic Center," Bivens told investigators.

"I told him I was concerned because, you know, all our law enforcement was there, somebody could see us. He wasn't concerned with that, he just, you know, wanted to have sex," Eberle told investigators, describing the encounter.

Bivens and Eberle also described sex acts at the Lakeland Fire Department headquarters during last year's Red, White and Kaboom celebration.

"He has a little cubicle. We had sex in his cubicle. He always sat in his chair and I got on top and had sex," Eberle said in the interview.

The two also testified to a lunchtime tryst at a Lakeland La Quinta Inn, where Eberle says Bivens invited the manager, who she knew as "Big John" to join in.

"He had pulled my dress up and exposed my vaginal area to John. And, you know, he was saying how, you know, John should come up and take his turn while, while he wanted to watch me have sex with John," Eberle said.

Bivens said he did not recall the experience.

Since the scandal broke last month, a total of 10 city employees have resigned or been terminated.

Bivens was the first person to resign in the wake of the scandal who was not a police officer.
 

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