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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