Police brass criticize Fox4 report about officer sexting teen

FMPD criticize report about officer sexting teen
Posted at 10:18 PM, Jul 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-22 07:01:47-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Fort Myers police leaders are firing back after a Four in Your Corner investigation.

We told you about a former officer who was recently investigated for sexting a teenage girl and how that girl’s mother has also accused the department of covering things up.

An internal affairs investigation finding almost 900 texts sent between former police officer Matthew Vagi and a 17 year old girl.

That girl's mother, Michelle Daniels, tells us Captain Newhouse recently contacted her but downplayed what they found Vagi had done with her daughter.

Daniels tells us, "He did not inform me it was over 880 texts and that there was drugs involved, sex involved, alcohol involved."

When asked whether that made her mad she replied, "Hell yeah!"

Four in your Corner first exposed how Vagi resigned his position before he could be fired.

Although Four in your Corner requested a comment about this case from the Fort Myers Police Department more than two weeks ago, they are only now contacting us to criticize our report.

Captain Jim Mulligan e-mailed us to say:

"The news report is slanted by Fox 4 and doesn't adequately portray the correct facts in regards to the police department's investigation."

He goes on to write:

"Over 150 man-hours were spent conducting this investigation by members of the Fort Myers Police Department."

He doesn't deny any of the allegations against Vagi and he admits:

"The Fort Myers Police Department's Command Staff reviewed the investigation and recommended the termination of the now former officer.  Also, all allegations against former officer Vagi were "sustained."

But, according to Police Chief Dennis Eads’ Final Action Summary, Eads did not recommend termination.

On all 3 violations against Vagi it simply states the officer "resigned during the investigation."

Records show that investigation was completed on May 19th and Vagi didn't resign until almost a month later, on June 15th.

Captain Mulligan also writes:

"Vagi does not get to 'keep his badge' as reported by 'investigator' Mike Mason.  All of the former officer's credentials and identification were turned into the agency."

But what Fox 4 meant by that is the fact Vagi does get to keep his law enforcement certification.

The teen's mother feels he should have been arrested.

As for the department’s Internal Affairs report about Vagi, the department says: "The mother was instructed to request a copy of the report should she want additional details".

She now plans to do more than that, telling us, "Now that I'm seeing everything my next step is I need to go and talk to a lawyer and show him this."

Mulligan also says the department’s investigation into Vagi will now be sent to the state's Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission to see if further action should be taken against the former officer.