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JANUARY 12, 2015
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AFTER YOU READ THIS STORY WOULD YOU LET THIS GUY HANG AROUND YOUR KIDS? AND IF YOU WOULDN’T, WHY ARE MIAMI’S MAYOR, CITY COMMISSIONER SARNOFF AND ESPECIALLY THE MIAMI POLICE DEPARTMENT’S BRASS STILL AMONG HIS BIGGEST SUPPORTERS
PART I
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THE REVEREND JEROME STARLING

I want to be very clear at the beginning that Reverend Jerome Starling has not, to my knowledge ever been arrested and/or convicted for being a child molester, however...

On August 6, 2013, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office received a letter from a prisoner serving a life sentence for murder alleging that from the age of 12 until he was 17, he was sexually molested by Reverend Jerome Starling, who he alleged, also kept him out of school because he was a runaway.


Here is a copy of that letter. (The Police Investigative Report, the State Attorney Close-Out Memo and this letter are in a PDF at the bottom of this story that can be opened as a larger document if you cannot read the below copy of the letter.)

I’ve previously written about Starling when he and a group of ghetto preachers had a press conference supporting then Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones, before the 3rd DCA barred her from running for a 3rd term in 2013. 


I took the opportunity in that story to poke fun at Starling’s choice of wardrobe. It seemed to me, I wrote, that his tailor specialized in making suits from furniture fabrics, (See photo above,) and I questioned what Jesus would think about a ghetto preacher who claimed to wear a diamond encrusted crucifix and a $70,000 watch as Starling was always eager to brag about if asked about his gaudy jewelry.


I considered Starling to be just another ghetto hustler who dressed like a cartoon character and used what has become known as the gospel of prosperity to enrich himself at the expense of the poor, gullible people he bullshitted into believing that he had a roadmap to prosperity or heaven.


It was only afterward that I found out that Starling was also behind the Rickia Isaac Foundation. The foundation had been created after his niece was killed in a Drive-By shooting, about 15 years ago, and over time it had become strongly associated with efforts to buy back guns, and mentoring school kids against gun violence. As the president of the foundation, Starling has become identified by the local news media as a prominent voice in the Black community when it came to issues surrounding gun violence. Along the way the foundation has received a lot of money, including a lot of money from various agencies in the City of Miami, and most especially from the Miami Police Department. 

When it comes to “Justice For All,” in Miami-Dade County, Lady Justice has always had a bad habit of lifting her blindfold before determining whether someone gets “Justice,” or gets screwed.


The case was closed on January 14, 2014, and things in the City of Miami returned to the way they were before the Miami Police Department received the prisoner’s letter. 


THE AFTERMATH


Reverend Jerome Starling still wanders around the 4th Floor of the Police Headquarters where he is best pals with Assistant Chief Jorge Gomez. In fact, several months after the molestation case was closed out, comments appeared on the LEO Affairs, the police bulletin board, about Starling’s hanging out at headquarters and his public relationship with Gomez.

While the above letter does not include Starling’s name, the address where the checks get sent to is his home address.


On October 10, 2014, Reverend Jerome Starling appeared next to Miami-Dade County School Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, to encourage school children to be part of the “See Something, Say Something,” campaign.

Like I said at the beginning of this story, I have no knowledge that Jerome Starling has ever been arrested or convicted of child molestation, but I also know that if I was in a position of authority and had access to the above information regarding this incident, I’d be very cautious of allowing myself to be put into a position where my official position and title could be seen or used as a character reference for someone even remotely perceived to be a child molester, convicted or not, especially when neither the cops or the state’s attorney’s office believed the accuser to be lying.


What do you think? If you were Miami’s Chief of Police and your detectives conducted this investigation would you allow this guy to continue to hang out at your headquarters building like he’s an honorary member of the police force?


As the Chief of Police would you feel it was your responsibility to caution the Mayor and members of the City Commission that your detectives believed that this guy had molested a minor when he was 12 years old, no matter whether the State Attorney chose to prosecute him or not, and to suggest to them that maybe they might consider using their judgement on how much official involvement they might still want to have with him?


If you’re a parent, how would you respond if you got this information about a guy in your neighborhood? Would you let him around your kids, or want him “mentoring” someone else’s kids after school, or especially showing up standing next to the Superintendent of Schools at some press conference?


And lastly, let’s not forget about the unnamed prisoner? True, he turned out to be a total fuck-up now doing Life for murder, but if in fact he was molested by Starling, how much of his being fucked up can be attributed to being molested from the ages of 12 to 17? There is irrefutable medical evidence that child molestation has life altering consequences often leading to violence by children who’ve been molested when they grow up.


Understand also that if I was able to get my hands on this information, a lot of people within the Police Department and Miami City Hall have also seen the same documents, or have been told about this incident, because there are very few real secrets in Miami city government, and given the criticism within police ranks about Starling hanging out at police headquarters, this story has never been one of those secrets.


This is a very troubling story no matter how you look at it, and the question that I want everyone who reads this to think about is whether you think that the State Attorney’s Office, Mayor Tomas Regalado, Commissioners Sarnoff and Hardemon and their Executive Directors at the two CRA’s and Miami’s Chief of Police Manny Orosa would have handled this situation the way they did in this case, if instead of a poor little Black kid having alleged he had been molested, it had been a rich little white kid or a Cuban kid.


Seriously, think about that for a while.



THE INVESTIGATIVE FILE

“The facts of this case have established probable cause that Jerome Starling committed the crime of Lewd and Lascivious Behavior as described by (name of individual whited out) (and or who) positively identified Jerome Starling as the offender.”

The most compelling part of the above report was the following conclusion reached by the detectives.

The State Attorney’s Office on the other hand, determined that even though the allegations were credible, the there was not enough evidence to prosecute Starling.

It’s a telling comment on how the scales of justice are often tilted against the poor when you consider that one of the reasons that the State Attorney’s office put forth for not prosecuting Starling was that:

“In addition, the subject is a person of some degree of notoriety and wealth, and is well known in the community.”

THE INVESTIGATION


After the State Attorney’s office received the prisoner’s letter, they turned it over to the Miami Police Department’s Sex Crimes Unit to conduct an investigation. The detectives assigned to the case went to the prison, interviewed the prisoner, and after several attempts, they also interviewed Starling.


Here is their Incident Report. (The prisoner’s name, and other identifying information was whited out by the police.)

In addition to hanging out with his pal Gomez, Starling continues to solicit money from folks like Commissioner Marc Sarnoff, and Commissioner Keon Hardemon whose OMNI and SEOPW CRA’s gave the foundation $8,000 last year, after the CRA’s received letters that listed Tomas Regalado, the Mayor of Miami as the Chairman, Marc Sarnoff, Miami City Commissioner as the Vice Chairman, and Assistant Chief Jorge Gomez as members of foundation’s Host Committee.