PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Walter Bonser was disgusted when he heard the news. “It’s a shame,” said Bonser. “I mean, that’s our justice system,” Bonser says his daughter was approached by James Rybicki, prior to his arrest on charges he took sexually explicit photos of young girls at his Seminole home.
“My daughter hung out with the girls next door to him,” said Bonser. “So she would just cut through and she was coming back one day and that’s when he stopped her and asked her about the whole bathing suit thing.”
Assistant State Attorney Kendall Davidson filed the paperwork on Tuesday afternoon announcing the case against Rybicki been dropped. The document states the reason is, “that there no longer is sufficient admissible evidence to sustain prosecution.”
Deputies arrested Rybicki 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.
“I think it’s going to take a couple of days for him to have this really sink in to know that he is free to do what he wants to do,” said Fleming. “His picture has been on the news. A lot of folks look at him. He’s self-conscious about that as well.”