|Franklin Hartley and Thomas Merenda|
By Arturo Garcia
Two Lauderhill, Florida police officers were arrested Friday and charged with simple battery and unlawful compensation for allegedly forcing a woman into having sex with one of them and ordering one to punch the other in the groin, to avoid arrest.
KTVJ-TV reported that 33-year-old Franklin Hartley and 34-year-old Thomas Merenda were released on bond and are on administrative leave in connection with a May 24, 2012 traffic stop involving two women who were leaving a local strip club when they were allegedly pulled over by Hartley. Police records indicate the two women were drunk at the time.
Threatning them with arrest, Hartley then allegedly directed the women to follow him to a nearby building, where Merenda joined them. Hartley allegedly had sex with the passenger, then directed the driver to punch Merenda in the genitals.
WFOR-TV reported that, according to the arrest affadavit, the woman refused to honor the request until Hartley “encouraged her, explaining that it was an act from which Officer Merenda derived pleasure.” Later, the two officers allegedly groped the women, and Merenda allegedly called and texted one of them after the encounter.
“Unlawful compensation is defined as a benefit or an advantage,” Merenda’s attorney, Eric Schwartzreich, told WFOR-TV. “As a member of the male population, I can say that never in a million years is it a reward to get hit in the family jewels.”
Hartley is charged with two counts of unlawful compensation, which carries a possible 15-year jail sentence, on top of a misdemeanor battery charge. Merenda faces one count apiece of battery and unlawful compensation.