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MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) – Miami Beach Commissioner Ricky Arriola is being investigated for an alleged sexual battery on a woman he says he met online.
The Miami Beach Police Department confirmed the investigation after the woman filed a complaint on Wednesday.
Arriola, 49, denies the allegations.
“The Miami Beach Police Department is working jointly with the Miami Dade State Attorney’s Office regarding this investigation,” MBPD Officer Ernesto Rodriguez said in an email. “The allegation has been made against Miami Beach Commissioner Ricky Arriola.”
CBS4 requested a copy of the complaint, which was released by police but only after being heavily redacted.
Late Thursday Rodriguez said the Miami Beach Police was recusing itself from the investigation, because of the perceived conflict of interest in the department investigating a sitting city commissioner.
He said the case was now being handled by the State Attorney’s Office.
The State Attorney’s Office refused to confirm whether or not they were involved.
“The State Attorney’s Office would always review any matter brought to us by the Miami Beach Police Department,” spokesperson Ed Griffith said in an email to CBS4. “However, we would neither confirm nor deny the existence of any ongoing investigation.”
According to Arriola, he met the woman on a dating website and they went on a first date.
“There is zero truth to the complaint in question,” he said in a text message. “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 believed that the best thing to do was end the date and go home. 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.”
Multiple sources confirm to CBS4 that the two met on Tinder and had dinner at Sardinia on Miami Beach.
The woman who filed the complaint has not been identified by authorities, and the complaint itself has yet to been released.
Arriola has hired an attorney, who would only say that they are cooperating with investigators and that he fully expects his client to be exonerated.