Pinellas Deputy Resigns After Encounter With Prostitute, Says Sheriff's Office

A document released by the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office details an encounter former deputy Robert Johnson, 42, had with a prostitute, along with several other alleged violations, including giving a prostitute a ride home.

A Pinellas County Sheriff's deputy chose to resign Monday in lieu of termination after an internal investigation found he had misrepresented the facts about an off-duty encounter with a prostitute and violated other department rules, according to the sheriff's office.

Robert F. Johnson, 42, had worked at the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office since October of 1999. He was working in the patrol operations bureau at the time of his termination.

Late Monday afternoon, the sheriff's office released a copy of the case disposition that detailed Johnson's alleged misconduct.

The disposition said that on Sept. 12, 2012, Clearwater Police officers were conducting surveillance of a prostitute in the area of Highland Avenue and Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard. At 9:35 a.m. the officers saw Johnson circling the area in his personal vehicle on at least two occasions.

An excerpt in the case disposition detailed what allegedly happened next:

"The Clearwater Police Officers are experienced in investigating street level prostitution offenses and they testified that your actions were consistent with someone who was trying to solicit a street prostitute. You were then observed by the Clearwater Police Officers stopping your vehicle, and the prostitute entered the vehicle through a passenger door."

The officers then conducted a traffic stop and Johnson allegedly gave "varied and conflicting statements" to the officers. According to the disposition, Johnson initially told officers he was going to give the female a ride home. Then he told them he was a law enforcement officer and said he thought the woman needed help. The case disposition said Johnson was untruthful and deliberately and intentionally misrepresented the facts. 

The disposition also detailed several other violations that Johnson allegedly committed during his employment at the sheriff's office-

  • Johnson had improper conduct with a prostitute and confidential informant. 
  • Johnson started a friendly relationship with a female after handling a neighbor dispute in Seminole. He admitted to conducting 20 "area checks" at the female's home over a two-month period in 2011. The visits ranged in time from seven to 96 minutes.
  • Johnson gave a prostitute a ride home after she was released from the Pinellas County Jail. The prostitute said Johnson let her ride in the front seat of his marked cruiser, bought cigarettes for her, and when he dropped her off at her home he allegedly asked the prostitute if he could come back.
  • Johnson also looked up the prostitute in a law enforcement computer system 23 times.
  • Johnson left work early, but did not clock out accordingly.
  • Johnson looked up his ex-wife's name in the law enforcement computer system to see if she was the subject of an active criminal investigation. After accessing a report, Johnson allegedly revealed confidential information to his ex-wife and told her she was the subject of a felony narcotics investigation. She was later arrested. 
  • Johnson took his daughter to school in his assigned work vehicle without logging in to work.
  • Johnson picked up his daughter up from school on two occasions while on the job. Both were without his supervisor's approval.

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