A North Jersey police officer was arrested on accusations he sexually assaulted a teenage girl multiple times and then tried getting her to lie about it to law enforcement agents, reports say.
Richard F. Haffner, 43, of West Caldwell -- currently suspended from the Roseland Police Department -- was charged with aggravated sexual assault of a teenager and trying to hire a person as a prostitute, NJ.com reports.
Last Friday, he was charged with trying to engaged in prostitution on accusations he tried to offer an acquaintance money for sex in January, court records show. He was suspended without pay that day, according to local officials.
The incidents with the teen girl began when she was 15 and worked for Haffner at his restaurant, The Chicken Factory, in Roseland, NJ.com says citing court records.
Haffner's girlfriend apparently reported the relationship between him and the girl last summer but "abruptly recanted her statement" days later, and the officer was never charged.
Then, in February, the girl's parents suspected Haffner was engaging in sexual acts with the girl, and they reported it to police, NJ.com says.
The girl was 14 when she started working for Haffner, in September 2018, and he started committing sexual acts with her the following spring -- and continued until early 2021, police reports said.
Haffner told the girl to delete all evidence including all communication on her phone, authorities said
Haffner and the girl continued talking to come up with a false narrative for authorities, according to the probable cause statement.
The officer told police in February he deleted texts with the girl so that he wouldn't make his girlfriend jealous, but police got a search warrant for the alleged victim's phone, records state.
Authorities found a voicemail on Haffner's phone of "a voice matching that of the defendant declared his intention to have sex with the juvenile victim," records say.
A warrant charging Haffner with the following was issued Tuesday, reports say:
- two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child under his power 13 to 16 years old
- four counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child under his power 16 to 17 years old
- 10 counts of endangering the welfare of a child by sexual conduct
- one count of aggravated criminal sexual contact
- three counts of witness tampering and one count of hiding evidence to hinder the investigation.
Haffner was taken into custody Wednesday morning, NJ.com reports. The officer was suspended without pay from his department.
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