An Essex County Sheriff’s officer has pleaded not guilty to charges of sexually assaulting a prostitute in Newark, NJ.
The 31-year-old suspect is accused of sexually assaulting the victim while threatening to arrest her. According to law enforcement, the suspect saw an advertisement on Backpage.com and then contacted the victim by phone.
The suspect and the victim later met in person. At one point during the encounter, the suspect allegedly threatened to arrest the victim. The victim told police that the suspect used his handgun and his police badge to intimidate her into having sex with him.
Authorities began an investigation after the victim reported the incident to police two days later.
According to prosecutors, the victim gave investigators a condom that she claimed the suspect had used during the encounter.
While the victim was undergoing an examination at Newark Beth Israel Hospital, she spotted the suspect. She alerted police, who then spoke with the suspect.
The suspect later turned himself in to the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office. He was charged with several criminal offenses, including sexual assault, official misconduct, and criminal coercion.
The suspect secured his release from police custody after posting a $200,000 bail amount.
The suspect recently appeared in Essex County Superior Court, located in Newark NJ, for an arraignment. Multiple members of the Essex County Sheriff’s Office also attended the arraignment.
During the arraignment hearing, the superior court judge maintained the suspect’s high bail amount. Additionally, the judge ordered the suspect to have no contact with the victim while the criminal charges are pending.
The suspect’s attorney spoke with reporters after the arraignment and said that he “absolutely denies” the allegations of sexual assault. The defense attorney also questioned why it took the victim a full two days before reporting the incident.
The suspect will have to return to Essex County Superior Court on May 4. While awaiting an outcome to the case, the suspect will remain suspended without pay from the sheriff’s office.
For more information about this case, see the NJ.com article entitled “Essex Sheriff’s Officer Pleads Not Guilty to Charges of Sexually Assaulting Prostitute.”