Palm Beach reaches settlement with former officer who was fired

Kristina Webb
Special to Palm Beach Daily News
Published 5:02 a.m. ET Feb. 24, 2023

The Town of Palm Beach and former police officer Kevin Morine have reached a settlementfollowing Morine’s appeal of his
2021 firing.

Morine was released from his 26-year position on the force following an internal affairsinvestigation that found he violated six state and department laws and policies involvingreporting sexual abuse of a child.

He contested the firing, and a magistrate’s report in November found the firing to not bejustified. The magistrate, former Circuit Judge Robert Makemson, said a less severe penaltywas due and the Town Council should overturn the firing.

Related coverage:
Magistrate recommends Palm Beach rehire officer fired for failing toreport abuse
Presented that option at their December meeting, Town Council members votedunanimously to back Police Chief Nicholas Caristo’s decision to terminate Morine’semployment. As Morine and his attorney Stuart Kaplan prepared to appeal the TownCouncil’s decision, the town presented a settlement offer, Morine said. The town declined tocomment for this article.

The settlement
As part of the settlement, Morine is now listed as being an officer who retired in goodstanding “with all the proper credentials and paperwork,” he said.

“The grievance process the town uses is disheartening,” Morine said. “Despite three days oftestimony and an independent magistrate’s decision in my favor, the town ... elected to
disregard such finding.” Morine said he appreciated the magistrate seeing “the truth of thematter.”

“It’s unfortunate all of this took place to begin with,” he said. “Ultimately, I’m glad my nameand the accusations have been cleared so I can move on to the next chapter in my life.”Speaking to the Palm Beach Daily News, Morine said he is looking into becoming a privateinvestigator. “I just feel a huge weight lifted off my shoulders,” he said.

For his part, Kaplan said he had “the utmost respect for Chief Nicholas Caristo and TownManager Kirk Blouin and appreciate their efforts in bringing this unfortunate matter to a justand proper conclusion."

Morine said he remains proud of his 26 years of service to the town, the relationships he builtwith citizens and business owners and his time with colleagues. “It was unfortunate thathappened … God just works the way he works, and it was time for me to move on from there,and unfortunately that’s how it went,” Morine said.

What happened?
The firing occurred after an incident with a video of two children, comments made by one ofthe children to the other, and a day of missed work for Morine.

In July 2021, Morine was on vacation in Georgia when he called an on-duty supervisor toreport finding the disturbing video on an iPad. Later, via text, he was told by one child’sparent that the other, who was in his care, had made a sexual comment to the other child.

The video was recorded in Palm Beach Gardens, and police there who reviewed it did not findany cause for a sexual abuse investigation, magistrate Makemson’s report said.

Morine, who was not involved in any of the alleged inappropriate behavior in the video orwith the comment made between the children, reported the video to his supervisor becausehe was concerned his ex-wife would “cause trouble for him,” Makemson’s report said.

When the supervisor told Caristo about the video, Caristo ordered the supervisor to haveMorine report the video to the Florida Department of Children and Families and localGeorgia law enforcement, according to Makemson’s report.

In not reporting the video as directed, Morine disobeyed a direct order, Makemson said,while also agreeing with the town that Morine made contradictory statements during latertestimony about the video and its storage.

The magistrate differed in opinion, however, with the police department's internalinvestigator’s other reasons for Morine’s firing. While that internal investigation said Morinedid not follow direction to secure the video on the iPad, that he failed to report the possiblesexual abuse as a mandatory reporter under state law and that he did not comply with thetown's sick leave policy, Makemson said that was not the case.

Regarding the violation of the town’s sick leave policy, Morine contracted COVID-19 while onvacation in Georgia, Makemson said in his report. While Morine was scheduled to return towork July 11, he called his supervisor on July 10 and said he would need the day off.

The police department’s sick leave policy says employees must remain at home while on sickleave and any travel out of state must be approved by Caristo, Makemson said. However,because Morine got sick in Georgia and was returning during his sick leave, he did not violatethe policy, Makemson said.


Case Details:
Other common civil rights that don’t involve police and prisons include things like sexual harassment in the workplace, discriminating against a potential tenant based on race, or not hiring a qualified candidate based on age. Of course, there are so many other potential civil rights violations, but these are some common examples.

As Americans, we are lucky to have this wide range of protections under the law. If you feel your civil rights have been violated, it’s worth speaking to an attorney to find out what your rights are. Contact Stuart N. Kaplan, P.A. for a free consultation. By standing up for these rights, you make it easier for others who are suffering, as well.

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About Stuart N. Kaplan, P.A.
Stuart N. Kaplan, P.A. represents those charged with a crime. Headquartered in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, they have helped many defend their criminal cases. For more information on Stuart N. Kaplan, P.A. visit



March 9th, 2016

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