It’s likely that there are few that better understand the seriousness of being accused of a sex crime than a police officer. With that said, one New Jersey police sergeant is facing charges of criminal sexual contact while he was on duty. The man is currently on trial, and, if convicted, faces serious penalties.

Recently, an incident of supposed sexual contact was reported to authorities, though the incident reportedly took place last summer. While on the job, it is reported that the man “coerced” a woman into an inappropriate act. The claims are being investigated by local authorities and the department’s internal affairs office.

The officer has been an upstanding member of the police force for the last 12 years and was in “good standing” until the charges were levied against him. Working local patrols, the man has achieved the rank of police sergeant. A union representative, speaking about this case, said that the charges still must be proven in a court of law.

The man’s career, up until this point, has been defined by his extensive service to the local community. Now, he is engaged in a legal battle that will undoubtedly change his life, even if he is found not guilty.

Now that the man is facing a trial on charges for fourth-degree sexual contact, the facts of the case will come to light in court. Even though this charge against the officer carries significant weight, he is still entitled to a trial by jury, due-process and a capable defense. Because the man is a cop, this case is likely to receive significant attention. With the elevated profile of the case, there will surely be a lot of finger-pointing.

The man’s union representative concluded, “He’s just like every other citizen; no less rights. He’s innocent until proven guilty.”

Source: The Star-Ledger, “Plainfield police sergeant charged with sexually assaulting woman while on duty,” Feb. 1, 2012