A man sworn to uphold justice has been charged with obstructing it.
Newark police sergeant Michael Lalley, a 20-year veteran of the force, allegedly told a witness to lie to investigators probing allegations of sex with minors.
FBI agents arrested the 42-year-old cop at his home in Jackson Wednesday morning and charged him with obstruction.
A criminal complaint alleges Lalley engaged in sexual acts with minors at his house and at the police station where he was assigned. According to the complaint, he paid between $25 and $60 to one victim in exchange for sex when that victim was a minor; this supposedly occurred once or twice a week for a period of two years.
Lalley also allegedly provided the minors with cocaine and marijuana. He is charged with coaching one of the minors to lie to federal investigators regarding the allegations. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years behind bars in addition to heavy fines.
"The things for which Sergeant Lalley stands accused undermine the most basic values of law enforcement," Kevin Cruise, acting special agent in Charge of the FBI's Newark Division, said in a statement. "This type of news can put the reputation of all of us who wear a badge at risk. Because the public trust in law enforcement is at stake, it is imperative we take swift action to get to the bottom of this.
Lalley was scheduled to appear in federal court Wednesday afternoon. It was not known if he had retained an attorney.
The Newark Police Department did not immediately comment on his arrest Wednesday.