BSO employee accused of extorting Boca Raton doctor she met on married dating website
Prosecutors claim Debbie O'Flaherty-Lewis threatened to expose doctor's affair
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A Broward Sheriff's Office employee accused of extorting a Boca Raton doctor whom she met on a website promoting infidelity was back in a Broward County courtroom Wednesday.
Debbie O'Flaherty-Lewis, 48, faces 15 years in prison if convicted in her extortion trial.
Dr. Benjamin Harow testified Tuesday that he met O'Flaherty-Lewis on the dating website AshleyMadison.com. Ashley Madison bills itself as "the world's leading married dating service for discreet encounters."
Prosecutors and the defense team both brought in experts Wednesday to review cellphone data, including text messages, phone calls and emails.
O'Flaherty-Lewis, who is a BSO child investigative supervisor, was arrested in August 2013.
According to a BSO arrest report, O'Flaherty-Lewis "maliciously threatened the victim over the phone and text messages" and threatened to expose his affair "if she was not paid $7,000."
After Harow alerted authorities, BSO detectives listened in on a series of the doctor's telephone calls with O'Flaherty-Lewis, who agreed to meet him to pick up the money, prosecutors allege.
O'Flaherty-Lewis was arrested after the doctor gave her the BSO-provided cash, prosecutors said.
Karen Blake, one of O'Flaherty-Lewis' co-workers, also took the stand, claiming O'Flaherty-Lewis called her on the day of the sting and asked if a friend could drop something off at Blake's house.
O'Flaherty-Lewis' defense attorney denies the allegation and claims the doctor felt guilty about his affair.
She is currently suspended without pay.
Both sides rested their case Wednesday and closing arguments were scheduled for Thursday morning.
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