Fruitland Park city manager investigated over sex crime

Ralph Bowers temporarily suspended pending criminal investigation

FRUITLAND PARK, Fla. - Fruitland Park city officials are learning of a Lake County Sheriff's Office investigation on Monday into a sexual battery claim against its city manager.

Deputies confirmed on Friday that it is investigating whether a sexual battery was committed City Manager Ralph Bowers, who has been temporarily suspended with pay pending a criminal investigation.

City clerk Diane Gibson Smith said the council voted on Thursday night to suspend Bowers after a city employee went to the police chief on Wednesday accusing Bowers of misconduct.

The chief then called into the Lake County Sheriff's office, which will determine if the battery has been committed.

"I think a lot of people are just shocked by this," Smith said.

Bowers, who has been the manager since 2006, was asked to leave City Hall Thursday morning when he showed up to work.

Local 6 went to Bowers' house on Monday but no one was home.

Copyright 2012 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.