Two police officers in Lauderhill, Florida found themselves on the other side of the law after being arrested for forcing women into sexual intercourse and groin-punching during a routing traffic stop on May 24, 2012, reports the Sun-Sentinel.
Officer Thomas Merenda, 35 (pictured above right), pulled the women — who had allegedly been drinking at a nearby strip club — over and told them to follow him into a nearby mall parking lot. Once there, they were joined by Officer Franklin Hartley, 32 (pictured above left), who allegedly forced one of the woman to perform oral sex on him and have sexual intercourse with him by threatening to arrest her.
According to arrest reports, Hartley ordered the passenger to perform oral sex on him, then had intercourse with her. Merenda’s request, according to the reports, was less time-consuming: “Officer Merenda asked the victim [name withheld] to punch him in the ‘nuts,’ meaning genital area.”
Merenda, “who at the time of the incident was an on-duty public servant, did intentionally, unlawfully and corruptly request and accept the benefit of having the victim … strike him in the groin by threatening arrest, citation or seizure,” according to Merenda’s arrest report.
Hartley faces two unlawful compensation charges — one for having sex with the passenger, and the other for encouraging the driver to punch Merenda. “Tom really enjoys this,” he reportedly told the driver.
Hartley asked for and received the passenger’s phone number, and he sent her a photograph via text message some time after the parking lot encounter, according to Hartley’s arrest report.
The Sun Sentinel is not naming the women, ages 29 and 31 at the time of the alleged incident, because of the nature of the allegations.
During the investigation that followed the incident, detectives tracked the GPS monitors on the marked patrol cars assigned to Merenda and Hartley, finding that both were behind 7300 W. Commercial Blvd. for more than an hour and a half.
Detectives also found the passenger’s underwear at the scene, and testimony from three women claiming Merenda enjoyed sexual pain, with two of the women specifically mentioning the pain of being struck in the groin.
See news report below:
The officers both turned themselves in Thursday night, and were charged with “unlawful compensation, a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison, and battery, a misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days.”
According to legal council for the two officers, both men are married with two children and have the full support of their families.
Lauderhill Police Chief Andrew Smalling is not so accepting:
“I and the men and women of the Lauderhill Police department are truly disappointed with the nature of the allegations made against these two officers and if they are proven to be true, the consequences should be severe,” Smalling said. “The alleged actions of these two officers are in no way any reflection of the character and integrity of the many hard working men and women of the Lauderhill Police Department.”