- Associated Press - Friday, January 8, 2016

PITTSBURGH (AP) - A Pennsylvania state trooper has been suspended without pay and charged with exposing himself to a woman at the barracks where he worked.

Trooper Eric Zona, 46, of North Huntingdon, committed the act at an annex building of the barracks in Greensburg, about 30 miles east of Pittsburgh, according to a statement issued Friday by an internal affairs investigator.

Charges of open lewdness and indecent exposure were filed on Friday, according to the statement. The incident happened Oct. 16.

Trooper Adam Reed, the spokesman at state police headquarters, said internal protocols for how alleged misconduct is investigated likely delayed the investigation, as did the forensic examination of cellphones, which the alleged victim and the trooper used in this instance.

Both charges are misdemeanors, with indecent exposure carrying up to two years in prison and open lewdness one year in jail.

Officials at state police headquarters near Harrisburg didn’t immediately comment.

According to a criminal complaint, a woman identified only by her initials text-messaged Zona about buying merchandise at a store that sells state police memorabilia in the annex building. The store doesn’t keep regular hours, so Zona arranged to open the store and meet the woman there that afternoon.

The woman told police she picked out merchandise priced at $95, and she asked for a discount because she was surprised at the cost of the items, the complaint said.

Zona offered the woman a discount “if she looked at ‘this,’” at which point she turned around to see Zona holding his genitals, the complaint said.

The woman said Zona then charged her $75 for the items, which she paid for by check, before he again exposed himself then offered her a 50 percent discount if she’d bare her breasts and watch him perform a sex act, the complaint said.

The woman refused and left the store, telling police that Zona then sent her a text message that read, “Shhhhhh!,” The complaint said.

An investigator later examined Zona’s phone and was able to recover five deleted text messages, including the one saying “Shhhhhh!” the complaint said. The woman let police examine her phone, which showed she’d received the message from Zona.

Zona will be arraigned once he responds to a mailed court summons. No date has been scheduled, according to online court records which don’t list a defense attorney.

Zona didn’t immediately return a message left on his cellphone.


This story has been corrected to show that court documents show the trooper is 46, not 47 as listed on a state police news release.

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