- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 14, 2016

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - A New Jersey state trooper is accused of trying to cover up that he pulled over women during traffic stops just to ask them out on dates.

Marquice Prather, 37, of Linden, was arrested Friday on charges of third-degree tampering with public records or information and fourth-degree falsifying or tampering with records. He was suspended without pay and released without bail.

Prather’s attorney said he will plead not guilty.

State police began looking into the three-year veteran after several women complained about his conduct.

Investigators found that Prather showed a pattern of stopping women between the ages of 20 and 35 to ask them to go on dates or for their phone numbers.

Investigators said Prather would turn off his wireless microphone during the stops and falsely report it had malfunctioned. They also said he manipulated data to conceal that he was targeting a high number of women drivers.

The trooper joined the police force in 2013 and makes an annual salary of $60,749, state payroll records showed. He was assigned to the division’s Holmdel barracks, which patrols the Garden State Parkway.

A conviction on the third-degree charge carries a sentence of three to five years in state prison and a fine of up to $15,000 and fourth-degree carries a sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

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