The two Jupiter police sergeants who exchanged sexually explicit photographs while on duty and clashed in an April 17, 2016 lover’s spat in front of a Jupiter waterfront restaurant have been fired.
Amy Walling and Jason Vansteenburgh were on paid administrative leave during the internal investigation.
Police Chief Frank Kitzerow recommended termination. Jupiter Town Manager Andy Lukasik agreed, making the firing official.
The town manager has the final authority to hire and fire town employees, according to the town charter.
“The actions of Sergeants Walling and Vansteenburgh were in violation of the Town’s policies and the Police Department’s General Orders. Their behavior was unacceptable and disappointing, and does not represent the culture or organizational values of the Town of Jupiter, the Jupiter Police Department or its employees,” according to Lukasik’s letter Thursday confirming the firings.
Kitzerow announced on Feb. 2 that an internal investigation revealed the two officers had sex while Vansteenburgh was on duty. The officers texted pornographic photos to each other, according to the internal Jupiter police investigation.
“I have carefully considered all of the relevant facts…. including the severity of the allegations, the great discredit these supervisors have brought upon themselves and the Jupiter Police Department and the Town of Jupiter, their lack of integrity and honesty, and the violation of the trust placed in them.… In addition, these violations were committed on duty or while in the performance of their duties,” Kitzerow wrote in a memo recommending firing the officers.
Walling and Vansteenburgh met in 1999 when they were both sergeants in Jupiter. Walling previously supervised Vansteenburgh when she was a major in criminal investigations and he was a detective assigned to her division. Their personal relationship started in 2012, according to the report.
Lukasik rejected Vansteenburgh’s contention that Walling had sexually harassed him after they broke up.
“I don’t find any competent, substantial evidence that you were being sexually harassed by then-Major Walling and threatened to the point of being compelled to send a photo of yourself, while working a special detail, in uniform with your penis exposed,” according to Lukasik’s letter.
In his letter firing Walling, Lukasik said Walling’s actions damaged her professional credibility so much that Walling could not return to duty.
“While you certainly didn’t compel Sergeant Vansteenburgh to have sex with you while on duty, you didn’t discourage the sexual act and were aware that it was a violation of the General Orders for him to engage in this activity,” according to Lukasik’s letter.
Read Lukasik’s letter to Walling.
Read Lukasik’s letter to Vansteenburgh.
Vansteenburgh once showed leadership potential in the police department, according to Lukasik.
“Sergeant Vansteenburgh, throughout your career, you have possessed the skills to be an effective law enforcement officer. You have shown aptitude for the job and impressed those who witnessed your efforts. I would count myself amongst those who would have considered you to have the potential to become a leader in the organization,” wrote Lukasik.
Walling had risen to the rank of major before being reduced to sergeant. Walling was the lead investigator in a hate crime three years ago that resulted in the arrest of three men in the bludgeoning death of 18-year-old Onesimo Marcelino Lopez-Ramos. Three men were charged with first-degree murder.
Neither Walling nor Vansteenburgh could be reached for comment.