On Saturday, Miami-Dade Police Lt. John A. Jenkins — a 25-year veteran — was charged with sexual battery in the April 25 incident. Following his arrest, Jenkins was suspended by the Miami-Dade Police Department and resigned as vice president of the South Florida Police Benevolent Association, which represents more than 6,500 members.
The department and police union did not immediately return requests for comment late Monday.
An attorney for Jenkins has denied the rape allegations.
“This incident involves two consenting adults who have known each other for many years,” the lawyer, Heidi Perlet, said in a statement to the Miami Herald. “Anything that may have occurred was consensual. A married man who is invited by a married woman to her hotel room after a day of partying and drinking at a PBA event, may be poor judgment, but is certainly not rape.”
But the police account of the incident, corroborated by phone records, witness accounts and the victim’s statements, describes a startling assault.
After the gala, several union employees, including the unnamed victim, made their way to the PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens. The group socialized in the hotel bar for a while before the woman decided to head up to her room to sleep. Jenkins offered to walk her to her door, according to a police affidavit recounting the incident.
When they reached the victim’s room, security footage showed Jenkins appeared to push his way inside, the affidavit said. He then shoved the victim against a wall, forcibly kissed her, and confessed that he “had a crush on her for some time,” according to the affidavit.
Jenkins unzipped his pants, exposed himself and tried to force the victim to perform oral sex, according to the police affidavit.
The woman resisted and repeatedly told Jenkins to stop, according to the police report. Then, the report said, he pinned her onto the bed and removed her underwear under her dress.
“No, don’t do that,” she said, according to the affidavit. “Please stop.”
She continued to plead with Jenkins to stop: “You’re married, your wife and kids are in the hotel.”
Jenkins forcibly performed oral sex on the victim, according to the report.
The affidavit went on to detail texts, phone logs and witness accounts that described how the victim tried to get help during the attack by reaching out to another union official who was staying in the hotel.
As the attack continued, the victim managed to covertly send several text messages to Florida Police Benevolent Association executive director Matt Puckett. Then, she feigned having to use the bathroom to get away from Jenkins.
Puckett was already sleeping when a frantic string of text messages roused him.
“Help me right noe,” the first text said.
“Now,” she wrote, correcting her spelling.
A third message simply said: “Please.”
Puckett, thinking his co-worker had been roped into an uncomfortable conversation at the hotel bar, headed downstairs to find her. When he didn’t see her, he called her phone. She answered, but said nothing to him.
On the open line, Puckett could hear her saying “don’t do this, you’re married,” her voice muffled as if the phone had been placed inside a pocket. Puckett shouted into the phone, but no one responded.
He rushed to the victim’s hotel room and knocked on the door. Inside, he could hear a man’s voice.
“Matt Puckett is at the door,” Jenkins allegedly said to the victim. “Tell him you’re at the bar.”
Puckett continued knocking until the woman finally opened the door with a shocked look on her face. He grabbed her by the wrist and pulled her into the hallway. As they walked away from the room together, the woman began to cry.
“He raped me,” she said when they reached the elevator, according to the affidavit. Then, she recounted the harrowing attack.
Puckett immediately contacted other union leaders to report the incident and waited with the woman until Palm Beach Gardens police arrived. When police interviewed the victim, she was “visibly upset and crying,” according to the report.
After the alleged assault, Puckett told police he had known Jenkins for 10 years and had recognized his voice through the hotel room door.
Security footage showed Jenkins exit the third-floor hotel room after the incident, go downstairs and enter a hotel room on the second floor, where he was registered as a guest, police said. Phone records between the victim and Puckett also corroborated their accounts.
DNA from a rape kit matched a sample police later obtained from Jenkins, the affidavit said.
The alleged rape adds to the long list of workplace sexual misconduct that intensified the #MeToo movement in recent years, as women in many different professions — from the entertainment industry to academia to politics and beyond — began publicly recounting moments when their male colleagues and superiors made them feel uncomfortable or unsafe.
Jenkins, a married 50-year-old, was charged with sexual battery and attempted sexual battery and had his first court hearing on Saturday.
A judge set his bail at $20,000 for each charge, and his next court date is set for July 1, according to court records.
A prominent community member, Jenkins joined the Orange Bowl Committee this year to help run the Capital One Orange Bowl in Miami Lakes.