The Fraternal Order of Police, which supported Jeff Ashton in his run for state attorney, called Monday for a full investigation into his use of the extramarital affair website Ashley Madison.

Ashton's admitted use of the website has also prompted a search of employees' computer data across Orange County.

Ashton was back on the job and in court Monday for the high-profile Bessman Okafor murder trial.

But outside the courtroom, questions were being raised after Ashton's admission Sunday that he used the so-called cheating website Ashley Madison.

The website encourages married couples to cheat on their spouses.  Hackers stole data from the site last week, resulting in millions of users to be revealed.

Ashton came forward following a report Saturday by the East Orlando Post, which claimed he accessed the site while on the job.

The revelation prompted Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs to launch a countywide search of employee databases.  Jacobs said she wants IP addresses searched to see if any county employees accessed the website on work time.   

Orange and Osceola County's top prosecutor admitted he began using the website nearly two years ago because he was curious, but added he never cheated on his wife or broke any laws.

Ashton also claimed he only accessed the website on his personal computer, using only publicly accessible Wi-Fi connections.

But on Monday, the FOP in Orlando, which supported Ashton's run for state attorney three years ago, called for an independent investigation.

FOP Orlando President Shawn Dunlap said Ashton should not be the one to determine whether he broke any laws.

"When law enforcement officers are accused of a crime, or any type of impropriety, those cases are investigated," Dunlap said. "I think it's hypocritical that something like this happens, and nothing is going to be done."

The FOP's Florida State Lodge president, James Preston, sent the following letter to Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday, also calling for an investigation by the state Ethics Commission and Florida Department of Law Enforcement:

Dear Governor Scott:

Recently hackers have posted lists of accounts of individuals who have used the extra-marital web site Ashley Madison. Much to the embarrassment of Orlando State Attorney Jeff Ashton, his name appears prominently on this web site and he has publicly admitted to using the web site out of "curiosity." These revelations have uncovered that State Attorney Ashton may have used his official office resources, equipment and time while conducting his visits to this web site.

Public officials should be and are held to a higher moral and ethical standard. Frankly, we expect more from State Attorneys. The office should be beyond reproach to earn and deserve the public trust.

As the President of the Fraternal Order of Police, Florida State Lodge, I join with the many members of the Fraternal Order of Police in the Orlando area who work every day with the State Attorney’s Office in Orlando to ask your office to refer this matter to the Florida Ethics Commission and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for review and investigation to insure the integrity of Mr. Ashton’s office to restore the public’s confidence in the Office of the State Attorney.

James W. Preston, President
Florida State Lodge, Fraternal Order of Police

View the letter in PDF form below ▼

Late Monday afternoon, a spokeswoman for Ashton's office responded to FOP, saying the State Attorney's Office would fully comply with any investigation. 

Spokeswoman Angela Starke also expressed Ashton's hope that the public can forgive him for something Ashton called "incredibly stupid."

"He wants them to know he's remorseful for what happened, but he has a private life, and it's very important that no laws were broken — and they were not," Starke said.

An Orange County government official said Monday the county has begun the process of going through IP addresses accessed by county employees. That process is expected to take days, and possibly weeks.

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