Rape charges dropped against former Fernandina Beach officer


Prosecutors say date rape allegations against the former officer were “unreliable and arguably incredible.”

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The video attached to this story is from a previous, related report.

Prosecutors have dropped two sexual battery charges against a former Fernandina Beach Police Officer accused of date rape.

John Lee Finley Jr. was arrested by the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office in June after a woman accused him of drugging her drink and sexually assaulting her as she slept.

It’s not clear why prosecutors dropped the case. First Coast News has requested more information from the State Attorney’s Office. 

However, court records show the case was closed Nov. 25 and Finley’s GPS ankle monitor removed yesterday.

According to the arrest warrant, a woman was at Finley’s house for a date when he fixed her a drink. Soon after, she said, she began to feel sleepy, and he assaulted her when she was too tired to resist. She told police she left his house after he fell asleep, and later took two “12Panel” drug tests that showed the presence of amphetamines.

Detectives later recovered a cup from Finley’s bedroom that tested positive for amphetamines, according to the warrant. They also found a picture of the alleged victim asleep on Finley’s phone, the warrant said.

Finley pleaded not guilty to two charges of sexual battery, one charge of battery and one of drug possession. Among several character references submitted on his behalf are letters from former Macclenny City Manager Gerald Dopson, former Supervisor of Operations for the U.S. Marshals Service in the Middle District of Florida Dan Broome, and several others who worked with Finley’s father, who also worked in law enforcement.

Finley worked with the Baker County Sheriff’s Office before joining the Fernandina Beach Police Department. He was fired shortly after his arrest.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

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