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Cops Franklin Hartley, Thomas Merenda Arrested For Receiving Sexual Favors

| by Sylvan Lane

Two Florida police officers are facing charges of unlawful compensation and battery after they allegedly received sexual favors from two women they pulled over.

Franklin Hartley, 33, and Thomas Merenda, 34, both officers with the Lauderhill Police Department, stopped two women early in the morning of May 24, 2012. The two women had been drinking at a nearby gentlemen’s club, reported Miami’s WPLG-TV. Hartely and Merenda pulled the women over in front of a Taco Bell, where Hartely told the women they could be arrested, and then instructed them to pull over behind a strip mall.

According to the report, Hartley then had sex with the passenger of the vehicle, and then Merenda told the driver of the vehicle to strike him in the genitals.

"Prior to being allowed to leave, Officer Merenda asked victim to punch him in the 'nuts,' meaning the genital area," stated the arrest affidavit. "He reassured her that this was okay and this turned him on. Officer Hartley told victim that 'Tom really enjoys this.' Victim stated she subsequently punched him in the groin as requested."

Hartley is facing two counts of unlawful compensation, a second-degree felony, and one count of battery, a first-degree misdemeanor. Merenda is facing with one count of unlawful compensation and one count of battery.

In a statement issued Friday, Lauderhill Police Chief Andrew Smalling said: “I and the men and women of the Lauderhill Police department are truly disappointed with the nature of the allegations made against these two officers and if they are proven to be true, the consequences should be severe. The alleged actions of these two officers are in no way any reflection of the character and integrity of the many hard working men and women of the Lauderhill Police Department."

While both Hartley and Merenda are on administrative leave, Eric Schwartzreich, Merenda's attorney, called the allegations ridiculous.

"My client is not just not guilty, he is innocent," he said. "The case is just plain nuts."

Sources: WPLG-TV, NBC Miami

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