Suwannee Democrat

May 2, 2013

FDLE: Lack of evidence against Townsend in WS

Joyce Marie Taylor
Suwannee Democrat

Jasper — Former White Springs Town Manager Robert Townsend, who was under investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), and who ultimately resigned after being placed on administrative leave on March 28, 2012, as a result of an ongoing investigation, will not face prosecution due to lack of sufficient evidence in the complaints against him, according to a recent report from the FDLE.

There were several allegations filed with FDLE against Townsend dating back many years.

One was a falsifying records complaint for not disclosing he had pled guilty to a first degree misdemeanor crime when filling out a job application for the town of White Springs. According to FDLE that charge was in all probability a valid charge, however, the statute of limitations had run out on Nov. 2, 1996, and Townsend could not be prosecuted.

An official misconduct complaint was also filed with FDLE, however, then Third Judicial Circuit State Attorney Jerry Blair determined there were no grounds to charge Townsend because statute of limitations ran out on Nov. 2, 1999.

In 2004, allegations of sexual assaults on a prison inmate while on work release assignment at White Springs water treatment facility were filed with FDLE.

In March 2011, Townsend was accused of lewd acts with a DOC inmate. Again in March, 2012, a work release prison inmate made allegations that Townsend had inappropriately touched him while he was working at the wastewater treatment facility.

Townsend had retained attorney Jeff Seigmeister, (who is now Third Circuit State Attorney) who on April 3, 2012, stated he declined to have his client interviewed by FDLE, however, he said Townsend would turn himself in, in the event a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Then State Attorney Skip Jarvis, at the end of the investigation, reflected there was insufficient evidence to prove the allegations against Townsend beyond a reasonable doubt and, therefore, the case would not be prosecuted.