Matthew Donnelly was convicted this week in Florida of the sort of thing that makes citizens distrust police officers — even though the vast majority of cops are not nearly as sick as this one, based on what a jury decided that he did when a couple flagged him down for help in a parking lot on New Year’s Eve last year.
The story, according to Donnelly’s victims, started when a man — not named publicly due to the nature of the case — and his girlfriend were driving home from a New Year’s Eve party in the early morning hours of January 1, 2014. The couple, like too many people on New Year’s Eve, had consumed too much alcohol at the party.
The woman was passed out in the passenger’s seat of the car. Her boyfriend became alarmed because she was out cold and wasn’t responding to him at all. So he pulled over into the parking lot of a pawn shop and flagged down the first cop he saw.
That cop turned out to be Lake County Sheriff’s Deputy Matthew Donnelly, 37. That was why the couple had already made a big mistake — according to a jury’s verdict reached on Wednesday.
The 26-year-old woman took the stand and admitted that her boyfriend, 29, never should have been driving that night. But that’s no excuse for how the deputy responded.
The woman, though very drunk, was okay, and she woke up when the deputy came over to her car. By that time, Donnelly already had her boyfriend in his police cruiser, she testified earlier this week.
Next thing she knew, according to her testimony, Donnelly was peering down at her through the open car window, telling her how “f*****g sexy” he thought she was.
“He just was talking to me, looked down at my crotch and told me I was f*****g sexy. I didn’t know what to think. I didn’t know what to feel. I just did what he wanted me to do,” she said in court.
What he wanted her to do was submit to a sexual assault. He reached into the car and began groping and sexually assaulting her with his hands.
“There was no sexual innuendo that I ever made to make him think him it was OK to do that,” she said.
The woman’s DNA was found in the interior of Donnelly’s cruiser, a place where she never was, on his hands, and on his flashlight. The deputy took the stand and claimed that the DNA came from the woman’s tears.
He also claimed that he would be “stupid” to do anything like sexually assault a woman in a pawn shop parking lot with the dashboard camera potentially filming him. But evidence at the deputy’s trial showed that he turned off the dashcam, and it didn’t come back on for 22 minutes — missing the sexual assault.
A jury in Lake County did not buy the story told by Matthew Donnelly, and on Wednesday they found him guilty of sexual battery by a law enforcement officer.
[Image: My News 13]