Suspended North Plainfield Police Officer Held in Jail Accused of Sexual Assault

ELIZABETH – A suspended North Plainfield police officer is being held in the Union County jail accused of sexually assaulting a woman at a motel hours after he first encountered her while on duty, authorities said.

Mike-Edward Jean-Baptiste, 29, appeared for a hearing in the Union County jail with his hands cuffed. He briefly stood behind a window frame to avoid a news photographer, but had to move when Judge Brenda Coppola-Cuba told him to stand closer to a microphone.

The officer is charge with second-degree sexual assault, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace Park said.

Jean-Baptiste first encountered the woman on March 2 while he was on duty, said Union County Assistant Prosecutor Scott Peterson, who is handling the case.

These law enforcement officers are accused of an assortment of crimes, from minor offenses to the most serious, including murder.

Peterson said Jean-Baptiste later sexually assault the woman at The Kenilworth hotel just off the Garden State Parkway in Kenilworth.

No details were released about the officer’s first encounter with the woman or how long after the assault occurred at the motel.

Jean-Baptiste was taken into custody without incident Monday afternoon in North Plainfield and placed in the Union County jail.

At the hearing Tuesday, Union County Assistant Prosecutor Lisa Ann Cybulski said her office would request the Jean-Baptiste be held in jail because of the sexual assault charge.

Jean-Baptiste’s lawyer, Mary Ellen Gaffney, of the Public Defender’s Office, said she would oppose the move to keep her client in jail while awaiting trial.

Coppola-Cuba ordered the defendant held until a detention hearing July 31.

Jean-Baptiste was suspended with pay in March when North Plainfield police were first notified of the investigation into the sexual assault, Chief William Parenti said. He said the officer was suspended without pay following his arrest Monday.

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Filming Cops
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Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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