- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 5, 2014

WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) - A Worcester police officer has been charged with raping a woman while on duty and in uniform.

Officer Rajat Sharda was released on $7,500 bail after pleading not guilty Tuesday in district court to charges including aggravated rape, extortion by a police officer, and witness intimidation.

He has been placed on paid administrative leave by the department.

Police say the 32-year-old Sharda asked the woman “what she would be willing to do to avoid being arrested,” before sexually assaulting her last August. He also allegedly threatened her to keep her quiet.

The woman lodged her complaint in November. Sharda was arrested Monday at the conclusion of the police investigation.

Sharda’s lawyer says his client denies the charges and plans to “defend his honor” in court.

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