On Wednesday, two New Jersey police chiefs - one suspended and the other retired - were accused of abusing their position by committing sexual crimes against women working in their departments.
Matthew J. Platkin announced the cases together in a press conference, despite the fact that they are not related. He did this to send a clear message to law enforcement and the public.
He said: 'The citizens of New Jersey, and our police officers, particularly our many female police officers, deserve leaders in the police force who protect and serve, and not those who prey on others who are weaker than themselves and then cover up their actions.'
Chief Thomas Herbst, of Manville who was suspended in the past year, has been charged with sexual abuse, official misconduct, and other counts. Mr. Platkin described it as a 'years-long pattern of sexually predatory behavior that targeted multiple women'.
Mr. Platkin stated that from 2008 to 2021 Chief Herbst regularly groped and exposed himself to a department worker who was directly under his supervision. He also sexually harassed the employee, Platkin added. He assaulted a 2nd department employee, and asked for sex with the wife of a police officer to get favorable treatment for that officer.
Chief Herbst, 55 was arrested on Wednesday morning and released following an initial court appearance. James Wronko said that his client, Chief Herbst, denied the allegations and had never been involved in coerced, forced or nonconsensual sexual activity.
Andrew Kudrick was accused of official misconduct, retaliation, and other crimes for a sexual relationship he had with a subordinate, which he attempted to hide after his wife grew suspicious.
Robert A. Honecker Jr. said that Mr. Kudrick, too, denies the allegations and intends to 'vigorously defend himself' against these charges.
'Falling out of favor with the political establishment does not make one a criminal', said Mr. Honecker.
The investigation into Chief Herbst began in the last year, after the woman who made the accusations that are the basis of the criminal charges brought a suit against him. He sued her and denied the allegations she made in her lawsuit, said Mr. Wronko.
Chief Herbst was then suspended with pay. Mr. Wronko stated that he anticipated the chief to remain suspended, but without pay due to the criminal charges.
According to the Manville Police Department's website, Chief Herbst began his career in 1991 as a police officer, rose to lieutenant status in 2005, and was promoted to his current position in October 2020. Manville is located approximately 70 miles west from Manhattan.
According to an arrest warrant, Chief Herbst began harassing and attacking the woman who he was accused of abusing 13 years ago after he became lieutenant. According to the arrest warrant, the first assault occurred when Herbst blocked her from leaving a office and masturbated before her.
The abuse escalated with time. According to the warrant, the chief assaulted her at the police headquarters, in a motel, and even at home where he entered through the rear door without permission. The warrant states that she tried to avoid him, by closing her curtains, locking her door and parking in her garage, so that he wouldn't know when he passed by.
According to the warrant at one point Chief Herbst instructed the woman to wear skirts while working 'to facilitate the assaults'.
According to the warrant, the second woman who accused Chief Herbst of sexual assault claims that he forced her into submission to his demands when he visited her in a home she had recently purchased.
Richard Onderko is the mayor of Manville. He did not reply to an email requesting comment.
Mr. Platkin explained that the charges against Mr. Kudrick are a result of an investigation opened by Howell Township officials after a confrontation occurred between his wife, who believed he had an affair, and whoever she was confronting.
Mr. Platkin stated that Mr. Kudrick had threatened a captain of the township police who was aware and had proof of this relationship.
Mr. Platkin stated that Mr. Kudrick had threatened the captain by threatening him with a bogus investigation into internal affairs the day before he would be interviewed a second-time as part of an inquiry.
Mr. Platkin stated that when Mr. Kudrick appeared in an interview as part of the probe, he lied to the investigators about having sexually explicit photos sent by the subordinate and having a relationship with him. Mr. Platkin stated that evidence showed the affair occurred in violation of township policies.