A New Jersey police officer has been suspended and charged with sexually assaulting a minor after he allegedly fathered a child with a 15-year-old girl.
Camden County Police Department Det. Rafael Martinez Jr., a 32-year-old, reportedly admitted in front of a social worker that he was the child's father and signed the baby's birth certificate, notes The Courier-Post.
He also took a court-ordered DNA test, which the Camden County Prosecutor's Office said provided biological evidence that he is indeed the father, reports KYW.
The teenager, named only as E.L., identified Martinez as "the father of her child" and told officials in taped interviews "that they had sex on multiple occasions at his home," officers wrote in an affidavit, according to The Courier-Post.
The girl told officers that her sexual relationship with the officer lasted from September 2016 to August 2017, during which Martinez was working as a police detective for Camden County, New Jersey.
Martinez, a former New Jersey Department of Corrections officer, was arrested on Sept. 12 and released after he appeared in court that same day. He was then promptly suspended without pay.
He is charged with sexual assault of a minor between the ages of 13 and 16 and endangering the welfare of a child through sexual conduct. If he is found guilty, Martinez could face 20 years in prison, with a likely maximum sentence of 10 years for each charge, according to FindLaw and the Law Offices of Herbert I. Ellis.
Years before the scandal broke, the department described the officer as "a highly motivated officer with a positive attitude who truly loves his job," notes The Courier-Post.
Martinez also played on the police department's recreational basketball team in 2015, notes CNB News.
The suspended police detective has received a handful of awards over the years, getting a Meritorious Service award in July 2013 and an Officer of the Week award in November 2013 for a string of gun and drug arrests, according to The Courier-Post.
The suspended officer lives in Blackwood, New Jersey. His neighbors told KYW that they had seen an increased police presence on their street in September.
"He's supposed to uphold the law, not break it like that, especially because I have three daughters myself," Brian Trimarco, who lives a few houses down from Martinez, told KYW. "So yeah, I'm just stunned about the whole thing."