An Anne Arundel County police officer was charged with a sex offense yesterday, accused of coercing a woman to bare her breasts during a traffic stop, then molesting and photographing her. He told her she could avoid jail if she exposed herself, police said.
Joseph Mossmiller, 22, who joined the department in May, was charged before a District Court commissioner with a fourth-degree sex offense, second-degree assault, false imprisonment and misconduct in office, police said.
Three other officers were suspended in connection with the incident. Police declined to identify them or disclose what the led to their suspensions with pay except to say that they were also rookies but had not been at the scene of the traffic stop Jan. 20.
According to charging documents filed in District Court, the 18-year-old woman was driving with a female passenger whom she had just picked up at a bar when she was pulled over by a marked police car in the Pasadena area.
According to the documents, Mossmiller "lectured her about the dangers of drinking and driving" before telling her to follow him as he drove toward her home. En route, Mossmiller pulled into a library parking lot, where he "told the girls to stay," returning about 10 minutes later, the documents say. The driver, "out of fear, chose to wait for the officer."
Police said Mossmiller then led the woman to the adjacent Community United Methodist Church parking lot, at 8680 Fort Smallwood Rd. in Pasadena, and asked her to step out of the car.
"He administered several field sobriety tests and then told her that if she and her friend showed him their breasts, then she would not go to jail," the documents say.
Although the passenger refused, the driver "began to lift her shirt," the documents say. Mossmiller "told her that was not good enough. He then placed his hand on her exposed breast and took a photograph utilizing the camera on his cellular telephone."
After the driver was told "that she was free to leave," she drove to a nearby police station to report the incident.
Mossmiller was released on his own recognizance yesterday after initially being sent to the county detention facility when he was unable to post a $250,000 bond, police said.