Sexual Harassment Court Hearing Dropped Against Former Beach Police Lieutenant

By: Chad Mira
By: Chad Mira

Panama City - A former Panama City Beach Police Lieutenant accused of sexual harassment will not face claims of domestic violence. His accuser has dropped the court hearing.

Panama City Beach officials fired Jeff Heath last month after an investigation into sexual harassment claims by a former co-worker at the police department. The official reason was Heath supposedly disobeyed a direct order against discussing the woman's accusations. She also recently filed for a restraining order against Heath.

But a judge refused to grant the order without scheduling a hearing first. The hearing was set for June 28th, but the woman has now dropped her hearing against Heath. His attorney says they are not surprised, considering the police department's investigation of her claims did not prove Heath committed any sexual crime.

"If you don't have that consistency, and every time you tell the story it tends to change, then there's definitely some credibility arguments to be made. And the best way for someone who's fearing an attack by an attorney on a cross examination is just to drop your lawsuit and that's exactly what happened here," Heath's attorney, Gerard Virga said.

Heath has a hearing later this month to appeal his firing. Beach Police Chief Drew Whitman says he cannot comment on the pending case but says the voluntary dismissal of the woman's claims does not affect Heath's termination since he was fired for different reasons.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Jahosaphat Location: PC on Jun 14, 2012 at 12:29 PM
    I agree that the media smeared his name, no need to trash it. Just make a statement. If your going to include all the statements that SHE made, include his too. That way, there is a fair rebuttal. I worked with Jeff, he is a bit crazy now and then, but I do not think he did this. I just dont. No I do not have any inside information, I have only met her one brief passing, but....There are a lot of things in the past that have surprised me. Do I think he did, NO. Could he have, sure. But anyone could have dont that.
  • by Justice Location: pcb on Jun 12, 2012 at 06:20 AM
    This guy devoted is life to the City of Panama City Beach and the Police Department. What is wrong with him standing up for his first amendment rights against her false allegations. She was allowed to smear his reputation for four years and all this guy did is stand up for himself. FDLE needs to get involved in this case and clean house at the Beach Police Department. I know this guy and he is a true Street cop who wants to be the one on the front line with his troops. He is a police officer that you want to show up when you need help.
    • reply
      by pcbcitizen on Jun 12, 2012 at 08:11 AM in reply to Justice
      He did absolutely nothing wrong. He was wrongly terminted from him job and hopefully the civil service board will do the righht thing and reintated him. This is a prime example of a perfect storm, a disgruntled ex PCBPD officer and a new Chief who has not hid his dislike for Heath for many years. This is a vandetta if there ever was one. Fight on, Lt. Heath, last thing they every expected was for you to fight back.
  • by Watching in TX on Jun 10, 2012 at 08:07 AM
    If the statements she wrote in the protection order were true, she would have been chomping at the bit to get into court for the hearing. But when the rubber meets the road, she took a hike. Ummmm...
  • by ricky Location: pcb on Jun 10, 2012 at 05:26 AM
    hes guilty she probably dropped the case because with all the media and people backing him up she probably didnt want to go through all the pain and suffering from all this shes probably been through enough well job done on the chief for firing him keep up the good work chief..........
    • reply
      by anonymous on Jun 11, 2012 at 08:42 AM in reply to ricky
      ricky, before you jump to conclusions and assume he is guilty, why don't you do a public records request and read all the different stories she has told for yourself. If anyone is guilty in this matter it is her. The truth will come to light soon enough. If everything she is saying was the truth knowing her, as I do, she would fight until the end, media or no media. She is a habitual liar and got caught.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jun 11, 2012 at 04:32 PM in reply to ricky
      Ricky, "the media", are you serious? Her name was not ran through the dirt....HE HAS 3 children that had to hear those lies about their father from the "media"...how is the media affecting her right now? It is not, her name has not even been mentioned (as of yet)
  • by Anonymous on Jun 9, 2012 at 08:18 PM
    Disgraced? Lt. Heath is the victim in this matter. What is a disgrace is the way he was treated by a department that he gave almost 20 years of his life to, 20 years that he cannot get back, time that was taken away from his 3 children that they cannot get back. His name and reputation being drug through the mud over a bunch of lies, that is a disgrace. The fact that the name of the so-called "victim" in this has been kept (for the time being) out of the media spotlight so she can continue to spread lies and potentially wreak havoc on other innocent peoples lives is a disgrace.
  • by Inttheknow Location: Pcb on Jun 9, 2012 at 04:35 PM
    Why does she keep dropping the cases? He is already guilty because he is a man and accused by a women. I guess the facts don't matter! I suspect the facts will come out and this man might win for men everywhere who have been wrongly accused. You go LT.
  • by Is that you Bucky? Location: Corruption Central on Jun 9, 2012 at 04:18 PM
    I guess I will leave the overflowing port a potty of a police department alone since wjhg only posts what they want..... It looks to me like "Optimus" may be the voodoo queen herself!!!! You want to discuss voice stress analysis tests, I can assure you that 80% of the "certified" folks that run them don't understand how to interpret about 80% of them. Either they don't understand or they pick and choose who passes and who fails. In my educated opinion, it's definetley both.
  • by Lori Location: Panama City, Fl on Jun 9, 2012 at 03:51 PM
    WJHG runs everyones name in the ground,.They make it worse sound that what it actually is. You people cause so many families so much grief. As if they dont go thru enough. Then in the end they are innocent..It's such a shame!
  • by Mark on Jun 9, 2012 at 09:36 AM
    False claims to get the upper hand in any situation are common. It has been made more easy since the passing of the VAWA laws- I'm sure most of you have noidea what they are, but it has essentially taken due process rights from men. Usually the false claims are made in marriage situations to gain the advantage in court, and in getting custody in court. It is unusual for it to happen like this. Police arrest men everyday in the US with no evidence based only on the word of a female accuser. Men's lives are ruined for something they did not do. VAWA has denied men due process, and has encouraged this type of thing. I predict if they fire him for talking, his next move will be to sue PC on constitutional rights. And who ever is responsible for his firing will have brought hundredsof thousands of dollars in foolishness down on our city. And they should be fired. This is the first time I've heard of a woman in Bay being required to prove her case before getting an RO or TRO. Normally judges issue them without evidence and often on false information, and when proven false, no charges of false reporting are brought in the case. I really believe this was a vendetta, and this guy is the victim.
  • by Elisse Location: USA on Jun 9, 2012 at 09:08 AM
    Jeffrey Heath is an excellent officer and supervisor... The claims are stupid and made with ulterior motives...Knowing the claimant as I do...I believe she was just being vindictive...
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