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Suspended Windermere police chief posts $5,150 bond

WINDERMERE -- The town's top cop has posted bond after spending the night at the Orange County Jail.

Windermere police Chief Daniel Saylor was arrested Wednesday, accused of trying to cover up a child molestation case against a friend.

Saylor appeared in court Thursday morning, where a judge set the police chief's bond at $5,150.

He posted bond hours later, and walked out of the jail around noon Thursday.

Saylor faces two felony charges for unlawful compensation and official misconduct.

But his lawyer, Orlando defense attorney Mark NeJame, said authorities should handled it with a summons to court, not a warrant and arrest, forcing Saylor to spend the night in jail.

Saylor's friend, Scott Bush, was accused of sexually battering a girl younger than 12 years old. He was denied bond Thursday.

Bush, 50, is a self-employed landscaper. The investigation against him involves alleged abuse from 2000 to 2003.

The Florida Department of Children and Families removed children from Bush's home in 2003, and again in 2009.

But investigators said Saylor tried to shut down the investigation and persuade his officers to help Bush avoid child molestation charges.

"Chief Saylor offered incentives to members of his police department, to influence them and to destroy material evidence," said state investigator Joyce Dawley.

NeJame, however, said he has not seen any evidence of bribes the chief was giving his employees.

"When you look at count 2 it says he fudged a timecard for a one week period that's the allegation that we've got that someone has been arrested and held in jail with no bond, so there's some real suspicious activity and we are going to get to the bottom of it."

As part of his release, Saylor is not allowed to keep any weapons, or contact potential witnesses or members of the Windermere Police Department.

Saylor's department-issued weapons will be returned to Windermere police, and any personal weapons he owns will be turned over to the Seminole County Sheriff's Office.

NeJame argued his client should be able to talk to fellow officers to help defend his case, and have access to weapons to defend himself.

The attorney said he is concerned that people whom the police chief put in jail over the years might still hold a grudge against him.

Saylor did not speak in court, or as he left the jail.

NeJame said his client is not suicidal, and is committed to fighting the case and regaining his career.

He said Saylor is also eager to get home to his daughter, of whom he has sole custody.

Saylor has been Windermere's chief of police since 2002. Town officials have named Orange County Sheriff's Capt. Ralph Groover as interim chief.

Copyright © 2011, Central Florida News 13, LLC
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