Port St. Lucie officers won’t be charged after football recruiting allegations

Published: Oct. 5, 2022 at 6:00 PM EDT
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The Martin County Sheriff’s Office has closed its investigation into criminal allegations against two high-ranking Port St. Lucie police officers and said they will not pursue criminal charges in the case.

An anonymous complaint accused them of helping falsify student addresses to allow students living in St. Lucie County to play football at Martin County High School.

Martin County Sheriff William Snyder said that in reviewing the complaint with the school district, the allegations did not rise to a criminal level.

The allegations are still under review by the school board and the Florida High School Athletic Association to see if any of their policies were violated.

The investigation was sparked by an anonymous complaint that claimed to be on behalf of a student athlete’s parent. It was mailed to WFLX and also sent to law enforcement.

It alleged "illegal recruiting of student-athletes at Martin County High School perpetrated by high-ranking officers of the city of Port St. Lucie Police Department."

Named in the complaint were assistant Assistant Chief William Vega and his brother Sgt. Robert Vega, both of who are also volunteer coaches for Martin County High School's football team, according to the school district.

"We did no interviews. What we did though is take a look at the paperwork that a parent would have to sign to get their children here into the school system," Snyder said.

In reviewing the paperwork, Snyder said neither of the Vegas' names was on any documents.

"So if there was anything that was illegal, it was not involving the two Port St. Lucie officers," Snyder said.

The school district did not want to press criminal charges.

"Without their pushing the matter forward and maintaining that there was a crime, there really was nowhere for us to go with it," Snyder said.

While the sheriff's office is no longer involved, the Florida High School Athletic Association said they are currently working with the school district to address the allegations and will "conduct a review to either clear MCHS, or issue penalties if necessary based on our findings."

According to the Florida High School Athletic Association's policy handbook, if they find players were somehow recruited to the school specifically to play sports, penalties can include forfeiting winning games to students becoming ineligible to play.

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