Charges dropped against accused child predator in Pinellas Co after judge rules detective lied

Pinellas County

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – The case against an accused child predator in Pinellas County has been dropped.

Assistant State Attorney Kendall Davidson filed the paperwork on Tuesday afternoon announcing the case against James Rybicki has been “nolle prosequi” which is Latin for “we shalll no longer prosecute. The document states the reason is, “that there no longer is sufficient admissible evidence to sustain prosecution.”

Rybicki is accused of taking sexually explicit photos of young girls in his Seminole neighborhood. Deputies arrested him in 2016. But earlier this month, a judge ruled crucial evidence that could have led to his conviction was inadmissible, because a detective falsified information to obtain a search warrant.

Detective Michael Alvarez left the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office in 2017 and went to work for the Ann Arbor, Michigan Police Department. Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said last week, what Alvarez did is criminal. “You know it’s wrong. If he was here in Pinellas County, I’d have him arrested and put in jail,” said Gualtieri. “He’s not. He doesn’t work here anymore. He hasn’t worked here since 2017.”

Alvarez now works for the Ann Arbor Police Department in Michigan. Sheriff Gualtieri contacted his supervisor following these developments, and the officer was taken off the street. The Ann Arbor Police Department released this statement: “Based on alleged conduct reported prior to joining the Ann Arbor Police Department, Officer Michael Alvarez has been placed on paid administrative leave, pending the results of an internal investigation.”

Attorney Lucas Fleming represents Rybicki and told Eight on Your Side when he received the news it was “surreal.” He says his client has been fighting to clear his name for three years now, and that day has finally come. He says Rybicki will have his ankle monitor removed today.

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