- The Washington Times - Monday, December 28, 2015

A Plainfield, New Jersey, police officer was terminated from the force for having sex with a woman in his patrol car while on duty after telling investigators otherwise, newly released court documents reveal.

The former cop, Fernando Sanchez, was fired in September 2014, four months after he told officials with the Union County prosecutor’s office that he had on-the-job sex with a civilian.

Although Mr. Sanchez has been off the force for more than a year, news of his termination hadn’t been disclosed until this week because details of internal affairs investigations are kept confidential. Because he appealed his firing with the state’s Civil Service Commission, however, reporters with the MyCentralJersey.com obtained documents that highlight his subsequent, unsuccessful attempt at reclaiming his job.

The newly obtained documents reveal that investigators set their sights on Mr. Sanchez while investigating claims that another Plainfield cop, former Sgt. Samuel Woody, coerced a woman into stripping for him in his patrol car while he masturbated in uniform. Woody was convicted and sentenced last year to six months in prison.

In the midst of their investigation into the Woody matter, authorities heard accusations that his colleague had sex with the same woman. When Mr. Sanchez was questioned by prosecutors and asked to answer as to whether he had, however, the cop said, “I honestly don’t think so,” the documents reveal. He later changed his story and admitted otherwise, and officials determined he met “frequently” with other “paramours” while on the clock.

While Mr. Sanchez was never formally charged with a criminal act, police brought a dozen departmental and administrative charges against the 15-year veteran of the force that led to his firing in September 2014. Documents filed during his appeal with the Civil Service Commission reveal that he attempted to persuade the state to give him back his job by downplaying the allegations and noting that not only had his record had been relatively spotless before hand, but that he had refrained from having sexual intercourse with civilians while on the job after prosecutors opened a probe into his conduct. Nevertheless, the CSC refused to reinstate his role with the Plainfield PD, with an administrative law judge going as far as to say Mr. Sanchez’s arguments “border on ludicrous”

The ex-cop “shows a lack of respect for the public, a disregard for the duties of a police officer and lack of consideration for the civilian involved,” the judge concluded, adding that “Officer Sanchez thought so little of his badge that he found it acceptable to have sex in public while on duty.”

“An officer who engages in such conduct clearly cannot be relied upon to exercise the necessary tact, restraint and good judgment in his relationships with the public and, as a result, should not be entrusted with the solemn responsibility to represent law and order in the community,” the ruling continued.

Michael J. Mitzner, a former attorney for Mr. Sanchez, told MyCentralJournal.com that the ex-cop had planned to appeal the state’s decision.

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