Prosecutor says video of former FMPD captain in massage parlor could not be used in court

Reporter: Lauren Sweeney
Published: Updated:
Credit: via WINK News.

The case against Jay Rodriguez, a former police captain with Fort Myers Police Department, will not face prosecution because a massage parlor employee could not be located, and there were problems with the origin of video evidence in the case.

An assistant state attorney with the Twelfth Judicial Circuit Court filed a lengthy memo in the case discussing his reasoning for not prosecuting Rodriguez.

According to the memo, an undercover video that apparently shows Rodriguez engaging in sexual acts with a massage parlor worker was not authorized as part of a sting on that business.

MORE: Twelfth Judicial Circuit Court memo – Jay Rodriguez case 

Investigators interviewed the lieutenant at the department in charge of conducting the undercover operation, who said she had no knowledge of video being used. She also told investigators she was not aware the video existed until it showed up online several years after the initial undercover bust.

Police arrested workers at the parlor for prostitution in 2013, but the video did not surface until 2019.

The memo also explained that the only person at the department with knowledge of the video was a former detective. That detective admitted under oath that he’d downloaded the video for personal reasons. A forensic examination of the hard drive that originally housed the video was not able to determine the history of who had accessed the file.

Moreover, the state said it did not have any evidence of anyone at the department who could testify as to who gave Rodriguez the recording device used in the sting.

The prosecutor pointed out that secret recordings have to be part of an official police investigation in order for them to be allowed for use in court. Since that could not be established, and the worker in the video could not be located to testify, the state felt it could not move forward with the case.

The video also does not include a statement at the beginning where the officers identify themselves, state the date and circumstances of the investigation. An attorney for Rodriguez said by phone, recorded statements like that are normally part of official undercover operations.

Rodriguez declined a WINK News request for an interview but said he was grateful for the support of his family, friends and legal team.

He retired from FMPD in 2019, prior to his arrest.

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