• Ex-cop accused of hiring prostitutes strikes plea deal


    MELBOURNE, Fla. - A former Melbourne police officer accused of hiring prostitutes while he was on the job ended the case Friday with a plea deal.

    Jose Otero apologized for his actions on Friday inside a Brevard County courtroom.

    Surveillance video shows Otero getting dressed after he allegedly picked up prostitutes in his patrol cruiser last summer.

    Without the plea deal, Otero could have been sentenced to up to 60 days in jail if he was convicted at trial.

    However, after pleading to one count of operating a conveyance for the use of prostitution, Otero received six months of probation and must continue counseling.

    Before he was sentenced, the former Melbourne officer said, “First and foremost, I would like to apologize to everyone involved in this case. I never meant for any of this to happen. I never meant to put my wife and family through any of this.”

    Otero’s attorney told WFTV he was a man who suffered from sexual addiction. 

    The case came about because a woman arrested in a prostitution sting told police Otero was one of her clients.  That’s when investigators began following Otero and even set up cameras in secluded parking lots.

    “Perhaps instead of surveilling them, they should have counseled him,” said defense attorney Steve Casanova.

    Instead, Otero surrendered his law enforcement certification and must finish six months of supervised probation and continue counseling.  

    The judge withheld an adjudication of guilt, which means in three years, Otero could get his misdemeanor record expunged.

    Otero was also forced to surrender his law enforcement certification.

    “You get rotten apples in a barrel and you need to get them out and keep them out, and he is out of law enforcement, forever,” said assistant state attorney Wayne Holmes.

    This plea deal also allows Otero to keep his driver's license, something he could have lost if convicted at trial.

    That's important, because Otero said he plans to start a trucking business.

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