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Florida police chief charged with thwarting rape case against friend

By John Couwels, CNN
Police Chief Daniel Saylor faces felony charges of official misconduct and unlawful compensation for official behavior.
Police Chief Daniel Saylor faces felony charges of official misconduct and unlawful compensation for official behavior.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Windermere, Florida, police chief has been arrested, suspended without pay
  • Chief Daniel Saylor's friend was under investigation on allegations of raping a child
  • Authorities say the chief went to great lengths to have evidence destroyed
  • Saylor was one of few officials who spoke to media after Tiger Woods' car crash

Orlando, Florida (CNN) -- A central Florida police chief has been arrested and charged with derailing an investigation into the alleged rape of a minor in order to protect a friend.

Windermere, Florida, Police Chief Daniel Saylor, 44, was arrested Wednesday morning on felony charges of official misconduct and unlawful compensation for official behavior, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Windermere is a small central Florida town adjacent to the exclusive gated community where Tiger Woods lives. Saylor was in the news after the car accident that precipitated news of the golf star's infidelity. Saylor was one of the few officials who would give reporters details about the November 2009 incident.

Saylor's friend Scott F. Bush, 50, also was arrested Wednesday and charged with sexual battery of a minor under 12, a capital offense, along with lewd and lascivious acts upon a minor, a third-degree felony. The alleged sexual battery occurred on a young girl between 2000 and 2003.

"We received information that Chief Saylor terminated an investigation by his department of a sexual battery of a child to keep a friend from going to jail," said Joyce Dawley, special agent in charge for the FDLE, at a news conference Wednesday in Orlando.

2009: Tiger Woods in car accident
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Orange County State Attorney Lawson Lamar said the chief offered benefits from time off with pay, promotions, letters of recommendation and transfers for destroying material evidence, such as investigation notes, and for giving false information to the FDLE.

In the second count, Lamar said the chief is accused of changing the time card for an officer "to pay them off."

Saylor, who joined the Windermere Police Department in 2002, has been suspended without pay, said Mayor Gary Bruhn. An Orange County Sheriff's officer will temporary sit in as Windermere's chief.

No other Windermere officers have been charged, but FDLE's Joyce Dawley said it's still an ongoing investigation.

If convicted, Saylor could face 15 years in prison. Scott Bush, if convicted, could face life in prison.

A bond hearing for both is scheduled for Thursday in Orlando.

 
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