- Associated Press - Thursday, January 19, 2017

PITTSBURGH (AP) - A small-town Pennsylvania police officer has been charged with meeting a prostitute on duty, then trying to cover it up, state police announced Thursday.

Former Farrell officer Tyler Valimont, 34, was charged with patronizing a prostitute, obstructing law enforcement, official oppression and two counts of evidence tampering. The charges are misdemeanors and he will be summoned to court, rather than arrested.

Farrell police didn’t immediately return calls for comment on Valimont’s job status, but The (Sharon) Herald reported that the part-time officer was fired last month. Recent phone numbers for Valimont weren’t working Thursday and court records didn’t list an attorney for him.

Valimont was on-duty in Farrell, about 70 miles northwest of Pittsburgh, when the alleged encounter took place Nov. 7.

He contacted the 27-year-old woman through an online ad then met her while working the overnight shift. The two were seen together by another officer on patrol, causing Valimont to cut short the encounter and later file a false report claiming he was cultivating a confidential informant, police said in a criminal complaint.

The woman told police Valimont was a customer who threatened to arrest her if she refused to answer his texts, which were “personal and sexual in nature and served no legitimate law enforcement purpose,” the complaint said. The woman responded “out of fear of arrest” and later deleted the texts at his request, the complaint said.

The woman also told police that Valimont urged her to lie to investigators, police said.

The prostitution count is punishable by up to a year in prison; the other charges each carry up to two years in prison.

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