Michael Ragusa grew up in Fort Lauderdale. When it came time for job hunting, he applied to the Broward Sheriff's Office and the police departments in Fort Lauderdale and Cooper City, among others. They all rejected him.
He spent three years on the force; then, in 2008, he pleaded guilty to rape and attempted rape and was sentenced to ten years in prison.
And there could have been many, many more victims than that:
"Both our officers and the City of Miami Beach police officers believed that there were dozens of people that he [raped]," Miami assistant city attorney Henry Hunnefeld told city commissioners last year, according to the transcripts. "Dozens."
While the documents show a failure in hiring Ragusa ("This is not somebody you'd want to hire," a city psychologist told Hunnefeld when Ragusa applied), it also shows a broken hiring system led by people who didn't have clean records themselves -- people who couldn't have known that Ragusa would go on to lure a woman into his patrol car and sexually assault her but people who could have kept him out of that car in the first place.
All of that information would have made defending the lawsuit impossible. "We're cooked," city attorney Julie Bru said as she presented a recommendation for settlement.
"A case with this set of facts is something that a jury could do very bad things with," Hunnefeld added.