Former officer faces charges
Published: Thursday, January 29, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 29, 2009 at 12:07 a.m.
Prosecutors filed misdemeanor charges Wednesday against a former Gainesville police officer who, according to an internal investigation, paid women for sex and received pay for overtime assignments he didn't work.
Three misdemeanor prostitution counts were filed against Bill Billings, 51, records provided by the State Attorney's Office show.
The charges stem from an ongoing investigation by the State Attorney's Office into the matter, revealed last November when police announced their findings from internal investigations involving Billings and a second police officer.
Police reported 14 women reported they had sex with Billings for money. He was on duty, in uniform and driving marked police vehicles during the incidents, according the law enforcement agency.
The investigation also reported that Billings had been compensated for working several overtime assignments that he failed to properly work, that Billings used his assigned patrol vehicle for personal errands and that he didn't attend recruitment events.
Billings, who had been a corporal with the agency and handled recruitment for GPD's Personnel Unit, resigned from the police department three months before the investigation's results were announced.
Billings' attorney Tracey Carlisle said she had not been told prosecutors were filing charges until she received calls from reporters Wednesday. She said a not-guilty plea will be filed.
The charges may not be the last against Billings.
Police had filed several sworn complaints against Billings on charges involving fraud, larceny, prostitution, and obstructing justice.
"Additional charges are definitely pending," said Spencer Mann with the State Attorney's Office.
If convicted as charged on the allegations of procurement of prostitution, Billings is facing a jail sentence of up to 60 days and a $500 fine for each count.
A court date on the pending charges still must be set, Mann said.
As of early last year, prosecutors have been assigned to or reviewed five cases involving Gainesville police officers, including Billings' case.
Asked about these cases and the pending prosecution of a former police officer, Mann said, "It's one of the necessary parts of our job whether the person wears a badge or he doesn't. We prosecute people from all walks of life, including those who have served as an officer."
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