Jeanette Espinosa was snooping in places she wasn't supposed to. The 44-year-old intelligence analyst for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement admitted to investigators from her agency that she used law-enforcement databases to look up private information about her co-workers, their families, and a private citizen.
The FDLE launched an internal investigation into Espinosa's actions after receiving an anonymous letter this past October 8 detailing her indiscretions. She received a ten-day suspension without pay, a demotion, and a 5 percent pay cut. But she still has access to the databases, which should concern Florida residents.
Espinosa, who earns $1,809 every two weeks, declined to comment. FDLE spokeswoman Kristen Chernosky says the agency has increased oversight of Espinosa's work but that she is off suspension and back on the job.
In similar situations, FDLE has not only fired employees but also criminally charged them, says one of Espinosa's colleagues who asked to remain anonymous. According to the investigative report into Espinosa, whenever an analyst logs on to the FDLE database, a disclaimer pops up that states, "FDLE resources are for official business only. Misuse will result in loss of resources, disciplinary action, or criminal prosecution."
Espinosa disregarded the warning. She looked up the driver's license history of one crime lab analyst, five special agents, two special agent supervisors, former FDLE Commissioner Guy Tunnell, his wife, the spouse of another agent, and the son of a detective. Asked by the internal affairs investigators why she snooped on these people, Espinosa replied, "Curiosity."
In one example, that curiosity prompted her to look up the driver's license information of a private citizen who was rumored to be a supervisor's gay lover. Espinosa claimed she researched the man to "dispel a rumor that the supervisor was dating a minor."
She pleaded for her job when she got busted. According to the report, Espinosa acknowledged "what she did was wrong, however noted that she was not using or printing information for a criminal purpose or to better herself."