A police officer was arrested on Wednesday on allegations that he repeatedly sent inappropriate messages to a teenager he met at a community policing event, Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago said.
Kevin Ruditsky, 46, a patrolman with the Manalapan Township Police Department, is accused of sending the 16-year-old girl sexually explicit messages and photos on social media after meeting her at the town’s National Night Out Event, officials said.
National Night Out is an annual community outreach event attended by law enforcement officers from around the county and local civilians. The national event’s website says it aims to make communities safer and more caring places to live.
Ruditsky was in his uniform when he met the girl at the event and let her sit in his patrol car, authorities said. In the days after the event, he started contacting her on social media despite her repeated warnings about her age, prosecutors said.
He then pulled her over when she was driving on Route 9, unlawfully handcuffed her and attempted to kiss her while his dash cam and body cam were turned off, officials alleged.
“That a sworn member of law enforcement would begin to so egregiously violate the public’s trust while in uniform at an event specifically intended to strengthen trust between law enforcement and the public is, in a word, unconscionable,” Santiago said.
Authorities have also alleged that after the victim refused to give Ruditsky her address, he unlawfully looked her up in a law enforcement database before parking his patrol vehicle outside of the residence.
“The men and women of the Manalapan Township Police Department are and should be held to the highest moral and ethical standards, and it troubles me that the actions of one individual can stain the reputation of all of us,” Manalapan Township Police Chief Edward Niesz said. “We are deeply saddened and disturbed that this victim had her trust betrayed by a man wearing one of our uniforms.”
Ruditsky has been charged with endangering the welfare of a child, official misconduct, computer theft, hindering apprehension, stalking and false imprisonment. He has also been suspended from his job without pay, Niesz said.
He was being held in Monmouth County Correctional Institution following his arrest and was scheduled to appear in court on Thursday.
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