ORLANDO, Fla. – The police chief of Windermere, the Orlando suburb near where golfer Tiger Woods had his infamous 2009 crash, was arrested and charged Wednesday with shutting down an investigation into the sexual battery of a child because it involved his friend.
Windermere Police Chief Daniel Saylor, 44, was charged with a count of giving unlawful compensation for official behavior, a second-degree felony, and a count of official misconduct, a third-degree felony. If convicted, he could face up to 15 years in prison.
Agents with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement also arrested Saylor's friend, 50-year-old Scott Bush. He is charged with sexual battery on a child under age 12, a capital felony, and lascivious acts on a minor, a third-degree felony. The alleged offenses occurred in 2003, officials said.
Saylor was ordered held without bond at the Orange County Jail and couldn't be reached for comment. Bush also was being held without bond and could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted.
"We believe Chief Saylor utilized his position as chief to hinder our investigation," said Special Agent in Charge Joyce Dawley of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. "Chief Saylor offered incentives to members of his department to influence them to provide untruthful testimony and to destroy material evidence."
Dawley said the police chief offered at least one officer time off with pay, a letter of recommendation and the opportunity to change from night shift to day shift duty in exchange for providing false testimony to FDLE agents and destroying investigative notes. No other officers have been charged yet, Dawley said, but the investigation was continuing.
"The facts are very ugly," said State Attorney Lawson Lamar.
Saylor has been removed from his duties without pay and an interim chief will be named, said Windermere Mayor Gary Bruhn.
Saylor's agency drew international attention in 2009 following the crash of golfer Tiger Woods' vehicle outside his home. Saylor's officers were among the first people to respond to the crash. Windermere is considered metro Orlando's wealthiest suburb.
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