Officer on leave after alleged sexual assault in Hazel Park

By: Andy Kozlowski, Brian Louwers | C&G Newspapers | Published December 6, 2018

CENTER LINE/HAZEL PARK — A Center Line public safety officer was placed on paid administrative leave Nov. 30 pending the outcome of an investigation into a sexual assault allegation in the city of Hazel Park earlier in the month.

According to Hazel Park Police Chief Brian Buchholz, a woman went to the Hazel Park Police Department Nov. 19 to report that she had been sexually assaulted by a Center Line officer about a week before. The woman, 35, of Hazel Park, alleged that the officer, a 35-year-old Warren resident, drove her home from his house and entered her residence without invitation.

The woman is reportedly friends with the girlfriend of the officer and had been visiting the couple at their house that night. After the alleged assault, the officer reportedly left the woman’s home, and she immediately contacted her friends, telling them what had just transpired. She also underwent a medical exam.

The woman told Hazel Park police that she believed the officer had been off-duty at the time of the incident. That was confirmed by the Center Line Public Safety Department. No weapon was used.

As of Dec. 4, the case was being reviewed by the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office. Hazel Park police reportedly requested an arrest warrant. Since the officer has not been formally charged, his identity has not been revealed. He reportedly denies any wrongdoing.

“I don’t know how long it will take the prosecutor to decide on charges,” Buchholz said. “Because of the sensitive nature of the assault, we cannot share any details (about the incident or evidence).”

He said it is not uncommon in cases involving sexual assault allegations for there to be a delay between the incident and the time it is reported to police.

“I am sure this was a very scary situation and probably took a lot of courage to come forward and report it,” Buchholz said. “This case is being investigated thoroughly. The fact that the suspect was a police officer in another city did not hinder or compromise the investigation.”

Center Line Public Safety Director Paul Myszenski said the officer was placed on paid administrative leave immediately after the department learned of the allegations.

“Hazel Park notified us that he was a suspect in a criminal investigation. Upon that, we brought him in. We administratively suspended him and that’s it,” Myszenski said.

The full-time officer has been with the Center Line Public Safety Department for just over a year, and he worked as a police officer in Detroit for more than eight years before that.

“He’s a great guy. He’s assigned to the traffic unit,” Myszenski said. “He’s very enthusiastic about his job. He takes it seriously. He’s a hard worker and produces well. This is a surprise to us.”