Update: The 5th District Court of Appeal on June 3, 2022, threw out the injunction against Robert Lentino, agreeing with him that “the evidence was legally insufficient to support a finding that [the alleged victim] had a reasonable fear that she was in imminent danger of another act of dating violence.”
Robert Lentino, the 26-year-old Palm Coast resident suspended from his job as a Flagler County Sheriff’s deputy in early July over allegations of domestic violence, resigned today.
On Aug. 17, a Volusia County judge extended the injunction against Lentino that his ex-girlfriend had filed on July 17 and that was temporarily granted on July 22. On Aug. 18, the State Attorney’s Office requested documentation of the injunction as part of its ongoing investigation.
Lentino had been suspended with pay when the allegations first came to light. (See: “Flagler Sheriff’s Deputy Lentino Suspended Pending Investigation into Dating Violence Involving 21-Year-Old Woman“). But last week he was allowed to work in “strictly just administrative stuff” at the sheriff’s Communications (or 911) Center, Sheriff’s Chief of Staff Mark Strobridge said today. The work may have entailed taking 911 calls.
Today, he tendered his resignation. “Please accept this email as my two week notice of resignation from the Flagler County Sheriff’s Department,” he wrote in an email to Sheriff Rick Staly. “It is my understanding that you will be accepting this resignation effective immediately.” Strobridge confirmed that the resignation went into effect this afternoon. The Sheriff’s Office had been holding an internal investigation of Lentino in abeyance, pending the completion of the criminal investigation. “The criminal investigation is still pending out there,” Strobridge said.
The Daytona Beach Police Department investigated Lentino’s ex-girlfriend’s allegations of domestic violence in July and completed its charging affidavit, forwarding it to the State Attorney’s Office. Neither the police department nor the State Attorney’s Office have released the affidavit, citing the ongoing investigation: it’s up to the State Attorney’s Office to decide whether to file a charge or drop the case.
Based on the Daytona Beach police report FlaglerLive obtained, the woman, who is 21 and a resident of Volusia County, alleged to police that Lentino first became physically abusive with her in April 2021, and that he allegedly struck her on three separate occasions in May 2021, in the face and in the chest. The most recent incident of physical abuse, she alleged, took place on July 3 into July 4, even though she said she had ended the relationship in June. The woman told police “she never wanted to report any of these incident[s] due to being in love with Lentino and not wanting him to get in trouble due to him currently being employed with Flagler County Sheriff[s’] Department,” the report states. But the report states she showed law enforcement “numerous photographs and videos” related to the abuse.
After ending the relationship, the woman reported to police that he “began to threaten her life and would frequently show up to her place of work or call her work place to harass her commonly using his power and position to intimidate her,” the report states. She worked at a private insurer’s office in Palm Coast. The alleged victim showed police “videos and recordings of Lentino actively using his patrol vehicle in an on duty fashion to follow her around the Flagler area,” according to the Daytona police’s incident report. The woman said he would “activate his emergency lights and sirens to complete unlawful traffic stops to intimidate her.” The woman could not provide a date or a location of such incidents.
The details of the woman’s report of the last alleged physical confrontation made the reporting officer skeptical about that particular claim. The woman had claimed Lentino had cut her upper right thigh with a kitchen knife. The investigating officer saw three laceration, not one, and described two lacerations “as if someone hesitated in making the cuts,” while the third laceration was deeper and longer, according to the report–6 to 7 inches. The woman also showed the officers bloodied sheets in her bedroom.
The report also notes that she had been “inconsistent” to two different officers, telling one that the confrontation took place in the kitchen and another that it took place in the bedroom. Two detectives inferred that the cuts “appeared to be self-inflicted,” and that the woman had “a history of self-harm,” an inference in the report that Trish Giaccone, the executive director of the Family Life Center, Flagler’s shelter for abused person, said assigned blame and went beyond what the report should have done–observe and report the incident neutrally at that point.
“We don’t know that. We don’t know if the woman did that to herself or if it was something the alleged perpetrator did to her,” Giaccone said. “There’s no way to know that. You can notate it, where the marks are, but assigning blame, we ask them not to do that, to leave it–just what you see, it makes it clearer in a police report.” Giaccone said the Family Life Center has conducted numerous training sessions with the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office to ensure that deputies take in the whole scene and handle domestic violence cases from a basis of believing the victim, not questioning his or her veracity. A conclusive statement about the cutting means that the reporting officers are “really diminishing her credibility, which follows her through the system. The State Attorney will say, oh well–and then it creates this snowball effect.”
In this particular case, the challenge for the Daytona Beach police was even greater: “When they arrive and there are law enforcement and the victim is dating someone in law enforcement, it is really difficult for that victim to trust what is going to be written down in that report, it is really difficult for that victim to trust the system,” and share with law enforcement what took place, Giaccone said. And in fact the police report notes that as the alleged victim was writing a statement, “she was being overwhelmed,” could not complete it, and said she would consult an attorney before answering more questions.
Giaccone said self-harm by cutting “is not something that we see for victims of abuse typically.” Rather, children–witnesses of violence–are more typically the ones who cut “to get in touch with their emotions and feel something,” or evade a numbness. “It’s not a typical behavior of victims of domestic violence but you really never know.” That’s why the caution about not prematurely reaching for conclusions.
Domestic Violence Hotline:
Call or text 386/437-3505, 24 hours.
Yeah, SURE! says
“I’m resigning before I get fired and lose my Law Enforcement Certificate.” Probably end up work for St. Johns County.
Joanne McKinney says
I have silent so far, letting everything play out. As her Mother I am completely disgusted that Robert Lentino laid a finger on my daughter. Her Father and I have made sure she has had very good representation in the attorney we chose. If my husband had done. Said. Threatened me in the ways Robert Lentino did to our daughter, he would have paid for it yesterday! A 13 year old girl has had more severe consequences, that is until now. The pressure has been put on. The news ( any and every channel) has as much information on the abuse she suffered. The injunction that was clearly granted without hesitation and extended for two years took away the ability he had to carry the firearm that he held to my daughters head and the vehicle he used as intimidation! He is no longer a “Deputy” and will not be aloud to be again. His resignation shows his guilt. Our daughter is a very bright, beautiful, loving woman that would do anything fir anyone. She is educated, hard working, caring and has a family that is full of faith, love and support! We will not back down! She will not stop until the criminal in him pays for trying to end her life!
I am so sorry your daughter has had to endure the horrible ordeal she has been dealing with due to being in an abusive relationship with someone who by all accounts violated his oath as a law enforcement officer. I am disgusted having read the news reports about what his alleged behavior toward her entailed over the course of their so called relationship. Thank God your daughter finally saw the writing on the wall and extricated herself from that toxic relationship. I had way too many cases in my law enforcement career where women in particular, less often men, were in abusive relationships. Some steadfastly refused to leave and instead remained with their abuser for whatever reason. It was disheartening to say the least. I hope your daughter more quickly identifies any potential signs of abusive behavior if it ever starts to happen in the future. It is hard to help those who don’t want to help themselves, but I believe your daughter has shown herself to be a survivor, and much wiser for having survived her abuse.
Joanne McKinney says
We thank you for your support! We are so proud of her for being so strong to put an end to his abuse towards her. She is an over comer with great strength to not only make him pay for what he has done but also for being the voice gor so many other victims in domestic violence relationships! You can and need to leave and speak out! She hopes her actions saved someone from this violence and hopefully saved anyone from becoming Robert Lentino’s next victim
Disgusted in Flagler County says
Good for you Mrs. McKinney!!! Put it all out there and don’t back down!!! Let everybody know who this guy is and what he is capable of!!!
I am praying for strength for your daughter and your family. You will get through this. You are not alone ❤️
Joanne McKinney says
We thank you for your support and can absolutely confirm that “she” “we” will not stop/back down!
When you are a law enforcement officer in these times, it is extremely difficult extracting yourself from false allegations due to negative public sentiments. Is he guilty of the charges against him? None of us know, but it seems he is overwhelmed. Sometimes it’s easier to just quit, let your attorneys fight, then to hang on with an agency that is not willing to back you up. None of us know what what happened. But it stinks when you have to leave a career you love because you can’t get anyone to back you up. Welcome to police work, 2021 !!
I know of over 500 child abusing priests and their supporters that claimed “false allegations.” I also know over 2,000 of their victims/survivors that proved in courts of law the abuse happened. … These ARE NOT false allegations
Joanne McKinney says
Thank you, we hate this is still being called “allegations “ hello people, this is very TRUE and REAL!
Joanne McKinney says
Absolutely not FALSE allegation, very real evidence!
So will his ticket get pulled or will he simply move to another jurisdiction? Let’s see if the investigation is followed through or sweep under the rug. Check back two months.
Please explain why it is hard for law enforcement dont believe battered women. Please explain explain why law enforcement are suspended with pay during an investigation. Any explanations.
Joanne McKinney says
We would also love answers! More so holding Robert Lentino accountable for his criminal actions !
I was way off base. After reading Joanne McKinney’s submission, it became obvious to me that I was wrong. My apologies to her, the victim, and the family. I hope the get the justice they deserve.
Joanne McKinney says
Apology excepted, thank you for your support. We have to take a lot of opinions with a grain of salt, eventually it is understood for what it really is . We truly do appreciate you! Thanks again👍
There is one thing that really sticks out in this news article that I find to be disappointing, and frankly even more than that, disturbing. As a now retired, 29-year career law enforcement professional who served in supervisory and administrative positions with the responsibility to routinely approve officers’ reports and/or review submitted case reports and also train officers on a multitude of topics including report writing during my career in CA and WA states, I am shocked that any officer’s crime report would be reviewed and approved by a supervisor after statements in the report went beyond factual observations and evidentiary information. For any officer to include personally biased assumptions such as stating any stab or cut wounds appeared to be self-inflicted are so outrageous and inappropriate that any supervisor worth his or her salt should have caught that and immediately rejected the report, sending it back to the initiating officer for a rewrite, eliminating such unsupported statements. To have approved such language gives credence not only to something that lacks an objective, factual basis, but it also tends to elevate an officer’s basic training and experience to the level of an expert who can testify in court as to a high level of expertise regarding specific types of wounds and the probable type and description of weapon responsible. If what is written is accurate, I believe that the prosecutor’s office should be communicating with the law enforcement agencies in their jurisdiction when they find such inappropriate information being included in crime reports, especially when it comes to the already sensitive area of having a male officer taking a crime report from a female victim of an assault or sexual offense. There is NO EXCUSE that I can think of for the incompetent and unfortunate inclusion of supposition, including an officer’s personal beliefs or biases in a crime report, and it is a huge error for any supervisor to approve and forward to a prosecutor’s office any report with such biases and unsupported information in it, PERIOD!
Ray W. says
Thank you, Skibum, for your insight.
COncerned Citizen says
This guy is a total Dirt Bag, And the favoritism is appaling. Why is the SA taking so long to investigate? Why did Flagler put their IA on hold? Criminal investigation or not they needed to take action against this guy. And remove him from ANY Law Enforcement duties until cleared.This is a clear example of the good ol boy network trying to circle wagons.
If any one of us civilians had committed the same offense there would be no months long investigation. Dragging heels. We would have been arrested after the first incident then we would likely still be in jail trying to post bond.
This man continiously misused his SWORN duties to abuse this young lady. He continues to put her in fear. And why he is still free just baffles me. Both the SA and involved agencies need to step up and put this guy away.
Regardless of the outcome he no longer deserves to wear a badge.
He took an oath to do a job. That oath holds us who have been in that line of work to much higher standards. Hell I still consider my enlistment oath valid. It pisses me off to see this type of behavior from people who are supposed to be protecting others from it.
I hope the powers that be act quickly and do the right thing. Do not give this guy a free pass because he resigned.
Cops protecting cops what’s new. The man not only threatened and abused her in their relationship but also used his patrol vehicle, law enforcement weapons, and authority to hurt this woman. Has anyone else found her Facebook and seen all the evidence she has posted for public eye to try to ensure no one lets him live this down?
If you as a citizen believe that this is not twisted and refuse to believe that they are protecting him, look again. Look at the WHOLE situation. You are guilty until proven innocent as any other citizen but as a law enforcement officer they are innocent until proven guilty AND STILL SHOWN WAYS TO REMAIN INNOCENT.
It is my understanding the victim won the injunction, so in this situation a judge clearly agreed he was abusing his power as an officer. Look at the facts. Her mental health history is irrelevant to this case and however an allegation about something appearing to be self-inflicted. Really? A supervisor let that report get approved, i would like to see that whole report. The officer making those allegations whenever she was already fearful to come forward because it was against a law enforcement officer should be questioned as to why he wrote what he wrote as well as the supervisor who approved it. Biased accusations should not be made the night a victim of abuse is speaking out.