Lakeland Police Officer Detective Rick Gries resigns, city workers suspended

LAKELAND, Fla. - Another Lakeland police officer has resigned in connection with the department's recent sex scandal.

Detective Rick Gries was a 10-year veteran of the department.

He marks the eleventh person connected to the scandal to leave the force.

"He touched me, rubbed up against my breasts. He hit my a**," Sue Eberle said in an interview with a State Attorney's Office investigator, describing the actions of Det. Rick Gries.

Gries is the latest officer forced to resign as part of an ongoing sex scandal. Gries offered his resignation in lieu of termination after an internal investigation determined he was guilty of four violations. In audio recordings obtained by the I-Team, the former detective talked about the encounters.

"We were sitting there talking, you know, sitting and talking sexual. It excited me," Gries said.

Eberle claims to have had sexual contact with more than 20 officers and city employees.

She accused Gries of exposing himself to her, something he later admitted to investigators.

"He actually came into my office and he pulled his penis out of his pants," Eberle said.

"You know, again, this is what I can have if I wanted to have sex with him. That's what he was offering."

"I was talking about showing, sharing my penis and I know I either sent her a text message, a picture, you know, of it or I showed it to her in person," Gries told investigators.

Thursday, the city also concluded and investigation into sexual misconduct allegations made by Eberle dating back to 1993 that involved six current non-sworn general employees.

Two of those employees were suspended and include Lakeland Electric Maintenance Coordinator Bryan Fluke and Information Technology Analyst Jose Diez. Each was suspended three days without pay for violations of city policy.

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