Pennsville, NJ – A Penns Grove police officer who was accused of exposing his genitals to two young boys in an Applebees bathroom was acquitted of all charges on Wednesday.
Penns Grove Police Department (PGPD) Officer Anthony Minguez, 31, was charged with lewdness and disorderly conduct, after a woman reported that the officer exposed himself to her children on Mar. 29, 2017, NJ.com reported.
Pennsville police were summoned to the Applebees restaurant at 8:20 p.m., where they met with Justina Davis, the mother of the 13-year-old and 9-year-old boys.
Davis claimed that a man exposed himself to the children when they entered the men’s bathroom, and that they immediately ran back into the dining area to tell her what had occurred.
She then pointed out the alleged culprit, who was ultimately identified as off-duty Officer Minguez.
Davis signed complaints against the officer the following day, NJ.com reported.
In April of 2017, Salem County Prosecutor John Lenahan announced that an investigation into the allegations determined that the children had simply attempted to enter a bathroom stall while Officer Minguez was urinating, NJ.com reported.
“The evidence revealed that off-duty Officer Minguez was in a stall in the bathroom urinating when the victims attempted to enter the stall at which time Officer Minguez turned around and the juveniles fled the bathroom,” the prosecutor’s office said, according to NJ.com. “The victims allege that Officer Minguez shook his penis and had a creepy look on his face.”
“In this case, the subject was exposed for the purpose of urinating, not sexual gratification,” the prosecutor’s office said.
The charges against Officer Minguez were then referred back to municipal court, and prosecutor Niki Trunk proceeded to take the matter to trial, NJ.com reported.
Not only did Officer Minguez deny having committed the alleged offenses – he denied having seen them at all.
“I had no encounter with these kids,” said the officer, while acknowledging that they may have walked into the stall while his back was turned. “I’ve been in law enforcement for 13 years and I’ve never seen in my entire career such a frivolous case.”
Officer Minguez’s attorney, Richard Madden, said that the allegations and 11 months of court battles had taken a toll on the officer.
“It cost him a lot of money, and a lot of time and aggravation,” Madden said.
“I’m exhausted,” Officer Minguez concurred. “I’ve gotta restart my life.”