State declines formal charges against former Fernandina Beach detective who was accused of sexual battery

FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. – The State Attorney’s Office has declined to file formal charges against a former Fernandina Beach Police Department (FBPD) detective, who in June was accused of drugging and sexually assaulting a woman, according to court documents obtained Thursday by News4JAX.

John Lee Finley was arrested June 3 on two counts of sexual battery, possession of a controlled substance and misdemeanor battery. According to the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office, he was arrested after investigators were contacted by someone who said she had been the victim of a “date rape.”

According to the disposition statement, the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office’s field test analysis of a substance in a cup that was found next his bed field tested positive for amphetamines, and the test appeared to corroborate the woman’s allegations, leading to the arrest. However, the disposition states, lab testing invalidated the original testing, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement determined the substance to be phentermine — a drug that can be used to promote weight loss.

“Indeed, FDLE has determined that phentermine was indicated in (redacted) urine — not amphetamine,” the document reads. “This finding is supported by and consistent with (redacted) subsequent admission to the use of prescribed Adipex (phentermine)”

The disposition statement said investigators determined that Finley also used phentermine, providing a reasonable explanation for the positive field test.

“The toxicological evidence leaves (redacted) testimony as the only incriminating evidence in this case. The State’s investigation has further determined that (redacted) allegations of her purported assault are inconsistent such that her testimony is not reliable,” the document reads.

It notes that the woman’s claims were denied by Finley.

Finley will not be re-hired by the Police Department.