Broward Circuit Judge Joyce Julian's allegation that she was drugged and attacked at an Amelia Island resort two weeks ago was unfounded, the Nassau County Sheriff's Office said Friday.
Julian, 44, made the claim after she was arrested for disorderly intoxication at 3:40 a.m. Dec. 1. Deputies were called to the Amelia Island Plantation after a hotel security guard found the judge lying down in a hallway wearing only underpants and a top. In the statement that cast the most doubt on Julian's claim, hotel maintenance worker John H. Dunn Jr. said she took off her pants in the hallway at 2:45 a.m.
``I noticed this person stand up fully clothed and remove a pair of dark pants and sit back down,'' Dunn wrote.
Nassau County Assistant State Attorney Granville Burgess said he does not expect Julian to be charged with filing a false report. He added that the misdemeanor disorderly intoxication charge will probably be dropped if she
completes a 28-day, in-patient substance abuse program. Elected in 1996, Julian asked for a leave of absence Monday and checked into a clinic.
Witnesses saw Julian drinking heavily the night of her arrest, and her recollection of what happened changed in the hours afterward.
In an unsigned statement to sheriff's deputies after she was taken to headquarters, Julian wrote: ``I was on the third floor balcony, a man in a black, long coat -- leather -- came and attacked me.''
She also wrote that police ``knew when they found my clothes that I had been assaulted, but they did not have any compassion for being a victim. This was one of the worst experiences in my life.''
But hours later, after she posted bond and was released from jail, she told Detective Gregory Foster that she did not know if she had been sexually assaulted and that she had ``blacked out'' at some point.
``The victim reported that the statement was false and that she would not sign it because it was a lie,'' according to Foster's report. ``The victim further stated that she wrote the statement because the deputies told her to.''
Julian's account changed again three days later when her attorney, Michael Dutko, told police she was drugged before she was sexually assaulted. He then released a statement saying that an unknown assailant had ``apparently'' slipped something into her drink.
On Friday, Dutko said Julian's fear that she may have been sexually assaulted was reasonable since sheriff's deputies told her that she was found without any underwear. In fact, reports reflect that she was wearing underwear.
``That was the single greatest factor that led her to fear that she might have been assaulted,'' Dutko said. ``That led her to ask the sheriff's department to look into the matter.''
Foster interviewed 16 hotel employees and two guests. He concluded ``there was no information that an incident occurred. . .This case is deemed cleared as unfounded.''
Here's what witnesses say happened, according to statements released Friday:
Julian arrived at 6:34 p.m. with Circuit Judge Ana Gardiner. She could not find a parking space and yelled at the valet to park her car. She also yelled at a bellman about the lack of parking spaces and asked if there were any nearby bars.
About 7 p.m., Julian tried to enter a Sysco company party in the nearby conference center. She told Sysco employee Cheryl Thibodeau, who gave her a glass of wine, that she was in the lobby ``to pick up a cowboy.''
A half hour later, she arrived at the nearby Veranda restaurant. Manager Mike Smith and bartender Edwin Nettles described her as ``intoxicated, loud and abusive.'' She ate dinner, drank a glass of wine and flirted with Smith.
Julian left the restaurant and returned with an unidentified man. She had another glass of wine and an Irish coffee. She left alone.
Around 9 p.m., a valet and a bellman saw her squatting in front of the hotel. She appeared drunk and had to be told several times how to exit the area.
Then Julian entered the lounge where she joined a group of four men. She had a few glasses of wine. Lounge singer Gary Ross said she was so drunk that she fell down on the dance floor.
Thibodeau saw Julian sitting on one of the men's laps. Julian told her, ``This is the one that I'm taking home.'' She was also seen ``rubbing'' on one of the men, while the others made sexual remarks.
She socialized with some other men from the Sysco party but left the lounge alone around 1 a.m.
Nearly two hours later, Dunn saw Julian lying on the hallway of the third floor of the hotel. He said she stood up and pulled her pants off.
Dunn contacted two other employees. Julian tried to hide behind an ice machine before running down the stairs into the hotel parking lot, leaving her pants and shoes in the hallway and repeatedly screaming, ``How dare you!''
Security guard Bill Jones caught up with her and put her in the back seat of his jeep. She crawled into the front seat and tried to drive the car away.
Sheriff's deputies arrived and arrested her for being ``extremely intoxicated and verbally combative.''
After she posted bond and was released from jail, she refused to go to a sexual assault treatment center. She said she just wanted to go back to the hotel. Judge Gardiner picked her up.
Dutko said he expects that Julian may have to answer questions before the Judicial Qualifying Commission about the sexual assault allegation. The commission does not disclose whether it is investigating until it files charges with the Florida Supreme Court.
``When she has a chance to explain the situation and the fears she was facing, ... she will give a very reasonable explanation,'' Dutko said.
As for Julian's allegation that she must have been drugged, Dutko said she remembers nothing.
``She blacked out,'' he said. ``But the report speaks for itself.''