No Charges for MB Commissioner Accused of Sexual Battery

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Miami Beach commissioner Ricky Arriola won’t face charges after a woman claimed he sexually battered her during a date, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors say they’re declining to file charges against Arriola due to a lack of cooperation by the accuser as well as a lack of physical evidence or witnesses, according to a Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office close-out memo dated Feb. 21.

According to the memo, the alleged incident happened on Dec. 15, during a first date between Arriola and the woman, who he met through the dating app Tinder.

The woman claimed Arriola touched her inappropriately as they sat in her car talking, the memo said. She said when she told him to stop, he stopped, the report said.

The woman reported the alleged incident to Miami Beach Police but when she was asked to go to State Attorney’s Office to give a more comprehensive account of what happened, she declined, the report said.

According to the report, the two had drinks at Loews, dinner at Sardina Enoteca Restaurante and then drinks at the Bay Club. There was consensual kissing between them and a witness who saw them at The Bay Club “observed the two to be affectionate towards each other,” the report said.

Arriola denied the allegations last month, saying there was “zero truth to the complaint in question.”

“I was on a first date with a woman who I met on an online dating site. I felt that she had too much to drink over dinner and she was intoxicated, so I ended the date and went home,” Arriola said in the statement. “She was upset with my decision, but I knew this was the right thing to do. Multiple witnesses who saw us that evening can confirm this sequence of events.”

Prosecutors said there is no evidence to prove a crime.

“The victim declined to provide additional details to the State Attorney’s Office about the incident,” the close-out memo said. “Moreover, there are no admissions by the alleged subject; in fact, he vehemently denied the allegation. There is no physical evidence to prove the allegation, and there are no witnesses to the alleged conduct.”

In a statement Monday, Arriola reiterated his innocence.

“I publicly denied the allegations from the very start and did everything in my power to immediately cooperate with the State Attorney’s investigation. On the contrary, the woman who filed the complaint refused to speak with the police and State Attorney’s Office, nor was she able to explain glaring factual inconsistencies between her initial statement and the testimony of eye-witnesses,” he said. “In the end, investigators determined there was insufficient evidence to pursue the matter and opted to dismiss the case entirely. I have always contended that these allegations were patently false and were simply an attempt to tarnish my public image. We now know that this complaint should have never been filed in the first place.”

Arriola, a Miami native and successful businessman, was first elected to the commission in 2015 for a four-year term representing Group Five.


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