Former Lee County deputy facing federal charges
A former Lee County deputy is facing federal charges after he allegedly battered and robbed a man while he was on duty in May 2013.
On Monday, the U.S. Attorney Office with the Middle District of Florida unsealed an indictment that charges Michael J. Ronga, 42, of Cape Coral, with deprivation of civil rights and obstruction of justice.
If convicted, Ronga faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison for the civil rights charge and up to 20 years in federal prison for the obstruction of justice charge, according to officials.
Fort Myers Attorney John Charles Coleman is representing Ronga.
“We request that people recall that citizens accused of crimes are presumed innocent until proven guilty, and the burden of proof is on the government,” he said on Tuesday.
“That burden of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt,” Coleman added.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Amira D. Fox and Jesus M. Casas are handling the case.
According to the indictment, Ronga assaulted a man on May 5, 2013, causing bodily injury, while working as a deputy with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office. He also took the man’s money and phone.
Ronga also allegedly lied to law enforcement about his interactions with the victim that day.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the LCSO.
Ronga was initially arrested and charged on May 5, 2013, with one count of robbery no firearm or weapon.
The LCSO reported at the time that it received a complaint of a deputy involved in a robbery.
The complainant told authorities that he was at a Bonita Springs restaurant when deputies responded to a disturbance. The man accepted a ride back to his residence by one deputy, later identified as Ronga.
Ronga allegedly did not drive to the man’s home, but instead drove to a nearby location in Bonita. The man was then allegedly battered and robbed. He managed to get away, fleeing toward a wooded area.
The man told authorities that Ronga got back into his vehicle and drove away.
At the scene, investigators allegedly discovered physical evidence verifying the man’s story.
In June 2013, Ronga’s employment with the LCSO was terminated. He had been employed at the Lee County Sheriff’s Office since 2008 and had most recently worked as a deputy in the Delta District.
In October 2013, the robbery charge against Ronga was nolle prossed by the State Attorney’s Office, with an “alternative prosecutorial action taken,” according to official court documents.
Ronga’s arraignment on the federal charges is set for March 3.