TRUMBULL — A town police officer was charged Monday with sexually assaulting a 17-year-old cadet in the police explorer program in which he was a drill instructor, according to court documents.
Officer William Ruscoe was arrested Monday and charged with second-degree sexual assault, third-degree sexual assault, fourth-degree sexual assault and tampering with a witness, state police said Tuesday.
Ruscoe, a patrol officer in town for almost 20 years, was processed at the Troop G barracks in Bridgeport. He posted $50,000 bail and is scheduled to appear in Superior Court in Bridgeport next week.
According to a warrant for his arrest, Ruscoe allegedly sent sexually explicit messages and pictures to the victim for months and twice tried to get physically inappropriate with her in his car. During one of these incidents, Ruscoe allegedly gave the girl a silver bracelet with a heart-shaped charm reading “Made with Love” and tried to kiss her.
In the fall of 2013, Ruscoe and the cadet were working at an event at Trumbull High School, according to the warrant. After the event, Ruscoe allegedly took the teen to the Old Teller Road home he had recently moved out of and convinced her to go inside with him. The warrant states that the victim “remained in the car for a long time because she did not want to go in because she thought that Officer Ruscoe was going to try to do something sexual to her.”
Once inside the house, Ruscoe allegedly took his firearm out of its holster and placed it on the counter. The victim told state police that while he did so he was looking at her “in a threatening way,” the warrant states.
According to the warrant, Ruscoe then allegedly took the girl upstairs to a bedroom and assaulted her, at one point using his handcuffs to restrain her arms behind her back.
The victim said she told him “no” “what felt like 1,000 times,” the warrant states.
Ruscoe is also accused of sending sexually explicit messages and pictures to another cadet, who told state police that she was 15 at the time. In addition to nude and semi-nude pictures of himself, Ruscoe allegedly sent the teen explicit photos of his wife, the warrant states.
The charges stem from off-duty conduct, town police said. Ruscoe has been suspended with pay, and an internal investigation is underway, they said.
The department learned of the arrest Monday.
“I am deeply troubled and concerned by the nature of the charges that have been presented,” said Chief Thomas H. Kiely. “We will make every effort to ensure that the integrity of the department and its officers is preserved as this case is investigated, and that the case is handled in a fair and timely manner.”
Ruscoe joined the department in June 1994 and has served as an adviser with the explorer program for several years, town police said.
He also is on a selection committee that interviews police candidates, Deputy Chief Michael Harry said.
Harry said department members were shocked to hear of the allegations.
“If there were issues with him, he certainly would not be in our Explorer program nor on the selection committee,” Harry said.
By Christine Dempsey and Kelly Glista, Hartford Courant.