A Town of Palm Beach police officer who was fired from his position in September is appealing the department's decision and has an arbitration hearing set for January, his attorney told The Palm Beach Post on Friday.© [Palm Beach Daily News file photo] Palm Beach Police car
The Palm Beach Police Department dismissed Kevin Morine, an officer for 25 years, after an internal investigation found that he violated department policies when he failed to report the suspected abuse of a child to the state and by requesting sick leave time while he was on vacation.
Stuart Kaplan, Morine's attorney, said a retired judge who was appointed as a special master will lead the arbitration hearing.
Kaplan said the abuse allegation, which did not involve Morine, centered around an unfounded report by a child regarding a comment made during a Fourth of July party by another child, this one under Morine's care.
"The allegations are completely untrue," Kaplan said Friday. "And there’s not one scintilla of evidence to suggest that the … child was in harm's way. My client did everything to make sure that the child was protected."
According to official documents, the department's Professional Standards Division began an investigation in early July after Police Chief Nicholas Caristo requested a review of Morine's response to evidence of suspected child sexual abuse.
While in Georgia, Morine reportedly called an on-duty Palm Beach watch commander and told the commander that he found on a tablet an inappropriate video of two children. The videos never were posted to the internet, according to the department's report.
An investigator from the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department, where the videos were recorded, said the children's actions did not appear to be a criminal matter. The Palm Beach Police report said Morine also told the commander about a text message he received from a neighbor regarding the Fourth of July party in which the child reportedly made a comment that was sexual in nature.
Based on the comment, which raised suspicions of abuse, Morine was advised to contact the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and authorities in Georgia. Florida law-enforcement officers are required to report suspicions of child abuse to the Department of Children and Families hotline.
Morine said Friday that he discussed the matter with the child and was satisfied that the child did not make the alleged statement and was not involved in an inappropriate relationship.
Morine said he also discussed the matter with another party, who then threatened to file a complaint against him with Palm Beach Police, a move intended to jeopardize his career. He then contacted a superior to notify him of the complaint and the related abuse concerns.
The department said that while in Georgia, Morine requested sick leave, which requires approval from the chief when an officer is away from home. Morine said he had a special circumstance as he and other family members were recovering from the effects of the COVID-19 virus.
This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Police officer dismissed by Palm Beach appeals decision, denies failing to report abuse
Source : https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/crime/police-officer-dismissed-by-palm-beach-appeals-decision-denies-failing-to-report-abuse/ar-AAPQsE9841