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The Key Biscayne Police Department launched an internal investigation into recorded comments made by a lead detective and other officers in the Oscar Olea investigation. They include jokes about their genitals made minutes after speaking to an alleged rape victim.


The recording was made by Det. Fernando Carvajal on his mobile phone, the State Attorney’s Office said Tuesday. Officials insisted it will not undermine prosecutors’ cases. The names of alleged victims were redacted by officials. 

The recording – reviewed  by the Indepenent – includes the victim’s harrowing alleged account of rape, plus 50 additional minutes of comments by Carvajal, Officer Jose Rodriguez and other officers whose identities were not immediately known.

The officers are excited because the woman will make a strong witness, with Carvajal calling Olea arroz frito, or fried rice. But officers also vent their frustrations with other Olea cases, calling the mother of another potential Olea victim a “scumbag” because she interfered with their work. And they use a police code word to label another accuser as mentally ill.

Carvajal forgot to turn off his phone recorder after the victim concluded her statement, officials said. 

“We’ve taken immediate action and began an internal administrative review. We hold our officers accountable as we hold those in society,” said Police Chief Frank Sousa. “If there is a policy violation at the end, we will issue the appropriate discipline.”

One accuser, when told of the recording’s existence Tuesday, was disgusted with the officer’s comments. “Honestly, at this point, I have no faith in the judicial system.”

Olea, a long time gymnastic coach on the island, is accused of having sex with two students while they were teenagers in 2011 and 2012. A judge denied bond Thursday, finding him a danger to the community. 

At one point on the recording, Carvajal and Rodriguez run into two police officers – and they reference the interview with the alleged victim that had ended just minutes before. There are a number of voices recorded in the conversation, but one of the men says, “Well your name came up.”

“She says some big headed guy with a small dick,” another responds.

There is a vulgar comment about sodomy while another asks, “Carlos, what about your dick?”

At Olea’s pre-detention hearing on Wednesday, defense attorney Beatriz Llorente asked another chief investigator – Det. Carlos Ugalde – “You were talking about the size of your penises?” Ugalde denied he was one of the police officers identified as “Carlos” on the recording.

Sousa would not identify the other officers ,other than to confirm Carvajal and Rodriguez were on the recording. 

The recording raises a potentially troubling legal obstacle for prosecutors, who may have to counter defense claims of law enforcement bias. It also once again raises questions of whether women will be believed, with respect and without judgment, by male police officers in Miami’s “island paradise.”  

The State Attorney’s Office said Tuesday it stood by its case against Olea based on the statements of the two women. They gave detailed accounts to police in January of how they were allegedly groomed in 2011 and 2012 by the gymnastic coach and then raped. He has pleaded not guilty.

“We find their testimony credible and believe that we can prove these cases in court beyond a reasonable doubt,” prosecutors said in a statement.  

“Disparaging comments made by a police officer about any member of the public never enhances the public perception of that officer or his/her department. Though the officers’ comments may be inappropriate, we do not believe that this affects the elements of the cases.”  

Val Rodriguez, a South Florida defense attorney, said statements by police investigators  – even lewd talk –  shouldn’t affect a criminal prosecution unless they show bias against the defendant or undercut a witness.

“What they’re not allowed to do is to make comments that will tend to impair their neutrality,” Rodriguez said. “I don’t think as a defense attorney you can do a deep dive on anything where it’s not related to a witness, defendant or the victim. It’s just general banter.”

Llorente also asked Carvajal  about describing Olea as “arroz frito.”

“It was an opinion,” the detective said.

Llorente didn’t get very far with her line of questioning before Circuit Court Judge Alberto Milian cut her off.

Olea was also investigated last fall when parents came forward to report allegedly inappropriate language and touching involving 4- and 7-year old students. Carvajal, on the recording, said the mother of the 4-year-old sabotaged the investigation by posting about it on social media.

“She’s a scumbag,” he said. “Because of what she was doing on a chat, because they were chatting back and forth and she was like, the coach of everything. And what happened? We had to throw the case out the window. The accusations now started mirroring each other.”

Oscar Olea, left, listens as his defense attorney Beatriz Llorente, right, whispers in his ears during his pre-trial detention hearing on Wednesday, February 6, 2024, inside Judge Alberto Milian’s Courtroom (Miami Herald pool/Carl Juste)

Carvajal also talks about a third woman who has came forward to allege she was raped by the gymnastic coach. No charges have been filed in her case. He calls her a “43” – a police code for committing a person involuntarily for a mental health evaluation under the Baker Act.

“She doesn’t remember anything, but she remembers specifically to the detail everything with him. I know the media got a hold of her,” Carvajal said on the recording.

The police union representing the Key Biscayne officers had no comment on the internal affairs investigation.

“I have not been notified by the Village nor anyone else at this point as to any specific police officers or sergeants or lieutenants that they are the subject of an investigation,” said attorney Richard Weiner, the Key Biscayne police union’s representative.

Sousa said that Carvajal “was extremely remorseful, contrite and embarrassed.” He said the investigation will also look at the department’s practice of activating and then turning off recording devices.

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This story has been updated.

JOHN PACENTI is the executive editor of the Key Biscayne Independent. John has worked for The Associated Press, the Palm Beach Post, Daily Business Review, and WPTV-TV.


Tony Winton is the editor-in-chief of the Key Biscayne Independent and president of Miami Fourth Estate, Inc. He worked previously at The Associated Press for three decades winning multiple Edward R. Murrow awards. He was president of the News Media Guild, a journalism union, for 10 years. Born in Chicago, he is a graduate of Columbia University. His interests are photography and technology, sailing, cooking, and science fiction.

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