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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sheriff's Lieutenant Charged with Leaking Confidential Information

PBSO Internal Affairs lieutenant charged with case tampering
The Sun Sentinel by Wayne K. Roustan - March 1, 2012
Lt. Dean Johnson accused of leaking confidential information

A Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office Internal Affairs lieutenant was arrested on Thursday after he was accused of revealing confidential information about a former deputy who was being investigated, according Palm Beach County State Attorney Michael McAuliffe. The State Attorney's Office charged Dean Thomas Johnson, 53, with witness tampering, solicitation to commit official misconduct, solicitation to commit evidence tampering and unlawful disclosure of confidential information. A confidential informant, whom the State Attorney's Office identified as a fellow Sheriff's Office deputy, recorded several conversations with Johnson on the phone and in person between Feb. 2 and 24, the report stated. Johnson "improperly revealed an ongoing confidential investigation of a former deputy [and] urged the [confidential informant] to destroy evidence and give false information or evasive statements to investigators," prosecutors said. The deputy who Johnson confided in was referred to as CI#286. The former deputy being investigated was referred to as 'John Doe' in the report. The informant suspected Johnson of periodically leaking confidential information to the news media about several Internal Affairs investigations since October 2009. So, he went to lunch with Johnson while wearing a wire to record their conversation. That's when Johnson brought up former deputy John Doe, according to the investigative report. Johnson told the informant to contact Doe to find out if unflattering remarks Johnson posted on a website about the Sheriff's Office could be found during the investigaton of Doe and traced back to Johnson. The informant contacted Doe, who assured the informant that Johnson's IP address was untraceable, the report stated. At a subsequent meeting, the informant told Johnson that Internal Affairs now wanted to review the informant's phone and computer hard drive to determine the source of an information leak and that they suspected Johnson of being that leak, the report stated. Johnson instructed the informant to erase his computer hard drive and delete his cell phone records. Johnson even suggested that the informant hand over his daughter's computer instead to confuse investigators and to destroy his own hard drives. Johnson also suggested the informant go to a cellphone store and have "everything wiped off" the data chip on his phone, investigators said. Without any evidence linking the informant to Doe, Johnson told the deputy he could deny ever talking to Doe. "It's your word against his word," Johnson said. "Doesn't matter what he says, doesn't it?" At follow-up face-to-face meetings, Johnson then told the informant that the Doe investigation is falling apart so investigators are turning their attention to the source of the leak. "I'm telling you the criminal portion is going absolutely nowhere," Johnson said. "So now they have to go another route and that's through you to see if they can get what they want." Johnson offered to pay to replace the deputy's hard drives once he destroyed them and again told him to delete his cell phone records to eliminate potentially incriminating evidence. "Please don't give them anything," Johnson said. "I understand that you know you're not going to hurt me and you know I'm not going to hurt you." Johnson has been employed by the Sheriff's Office since 1984 and was working with the Internal Affairs Unit for several years, records showed. He's been placed on administrative leave pending an internal affairs investigation. or 954-356-4303

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