PALM BEACH COUNTY, FL - Some members of Palm Beach County law enforcement are being shown in several compromising photographs. The officers, though, are not facing any disciplinary action. Both the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office and the West Palm Beach Police Department say the officers in these photos, with an unidentified naked woman, are not breaking any rules.
The snapshots were taken seven years ago but published Thursday by former Palm Beach County Sheriff's Deputy Mark Dougan. Dougan runs www.PBSOtalk.com , a website that is overtly critical of his previous employer.
The photos were said to be taken on October 15, 2005 by a bartender at a golf tournament at Sherbrooke Golf & Country Club in Lake Worth. In multiple photographs, an unidentified naked woman is flanked by several men. Among the men, is PBSO Major Robert VanReeth, who currently oversees the Sheriff's Office Internal Affairs division. That division is tasked with investigating the conduct of PBSO employees. Also pictured is VanReeth's nephew, Joseph, and Lou Penque. Both men are officers with the West Palm Beach Police Department.
While law enforcement questions the motives of Dougan and the release of these photos, both agencies say there is no ongoing investigation into these officers' actions.
The officers were said to be off-duty, on a private golf course and they were not wearing any agency apparel. No complaints were ever filed about what is depicted in the photos.
"If there is no internal policy that was violated from any of these agencies, really it's just a question of perception," said Michelle Suskauer, who is a criminal defense attorney and a legal analyst for NewsChannel 5.
Suskauer said the photos could represent a lapse of judgment, but that would be up to viewers to decide. "What's really going to happen to any of them as a result of these photographs? Nothing," said Suskauer. "But what happens to the public trust, what the public feels about their integrity. That's up to the individual."
PBSO and West Palm Beach police say the VanReeths and Penque never broke the rules. Some authorities say this is simply a website operator's vendetta against law enforcement. Dougan, meanwhile, said he published the photos within 24-hours of receiving them. He said he feels like the public needs to see them.
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