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Flagler County Sheriff's Office employee under arrest for telling son he's a suspect in confidential police investigation

11:49 PM, Jan 25, 2013   |    comments
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FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. -- A Flagler County Sheriff's Office employee is under arrest and charged with Misuse of Public Office, a third degree felony.

Elizabeth Cretella was arrested by the Volusia County Sheriff's Office and booked into the Volusia County Jail with a bond set at $2,000. She was immediately suspended from FCSO without pay. She worked in the Accreditation Unit, making sure the Sheriff's Office was complying with agency policies.

Flagler County Sheriff James L. Mafre ordered an investigation into Cretella after receiving information there may have been an unlawful release of an active investigation of Cretella's son, Robert Allen. The alleged incident occured September 20th, 2012.

"Sheriff's Office employees are entrusted to maintain confidentiality and to not release confidential information that could impede a criminal investigation," said Undersheriff Rick Staly. 

The FCSO started a criminal investigation on January 22nd into two civilian employees: Cretella and Wendy Bentzley.

Bentzley told officers she opened a confidential report involving Allen to check its contens. Bentzley stated she asked Cretella if she would like the report printed. According to Bentzley, Cretella said yes.

Cretella said while at work, Bentzley opened a report. After reading it, she asked if Cretella knew her son was involved in a case. She told officers she said "no." Then Cretella said Bentzley began to read the report to her until she asked Bentzley to stop and print it out since it was hard to follow.

At the time of the alleged incident, September 20th, 2012, FCSO was actively investigating Cretella's son for lewd and lascivous behavior against a 7-year-old girl.

The mother of the victim said she received a call stating Allen was aware he was being investigated and had a copy of the report. When asked how Allen got a copy of the report, the mother was told, "How do you think? From Mommy Dearest."

Allen denied the allegations against him, but did say there was an incident where the victim showered with him when she was 3-years-old.

Due to inconsistent statements, FCSO closed the case without filing criminal charges. The department states, "At the time of the information disclosure, this was an active criminal investigation. Disclosure of the described information impeded and obstructed this investigation by limiting our ability to conduct special investigative techniques."

When interviewed by officers, Allen said he was contacted by his mother and advised of the active investigation against him.

"She just called and said it was an open investigation."

Allen stated he was told to "watch out" or "be careful" by Cretella.

Allen's wife Kelly told officers that if he was ever asked how the report information was leaked out, he was to say that [Bentzley] pulled the report.

Cretella has worked for FCSO since 2006.

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