A former New Brunswick police sergeant has been indicted on charges that he mishandled 81 investigations of his fellow officers.

Richard Rowe was charged with official misconduct, tampering with public records and obstructing the administration of law in an indictment handed up Wednesday by a Middlesex County grand jury. If convicted on all counts, the 44-year-old Rowe could face nearly 22 years in prison.

Rowe, who served on the force for 21 years, was making $123,202 when he was suspended last March after files of internal affairs cases he investigated were found to be missing. He eventually resigned in August.

Rowe's lawyer, Lawrence Bitterman, has said Rowe was a poor record-keeper swamped by a high volume of cases, but never attempted to cover up any wrongdoing.

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