SOUTH PLAINFIELD — This borough's police chief is being accused of engaging in sexual acts with multiple female employees, including with a dispatcher whose "reckless" behavior he covered for as long as she performed sexual favors for him.

In a lawsuit filed in Superior Court, Capt. Charles Siedenburg says Police Chief James Parker engaged in sexual relationships on the clock with female employees. Siedenburg first filed the lawsuit in December, as first reported by MyCentralJersey.com.

Parker has served as the head of the department since taking on a provisional role in 2010. Parker's attorneys did not return New Jersey 101.5's request for comment on Friday.

The lawsuit claims more than 1,500 emails exist showing Parker engaged in sexual acts with female employees while on duty. Siedenburg also claims to have received documents showing Chief Parker and former Chief John Ferraro viewed pornography at work.

South Plainfield Police Captain Charles Siedenburg. (South Plainfield)
South Plainfield Police Captain Charles Siedenburg. (South Plainfield)
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One of the former female employees, a dispatcher, filed her own lawsuit against Parker in September 2020 after she was fired. She said had an affair with the chief, who she says had her perform “degrading and fetishistic sex acts." She says she faced retaliation after ending the relationship. Her lawsuit, which claimed that there was evidence of "numerous explicit photos and videos," was dismissed the same month.

Siedenburg’s complaint, which corroborates the relationship, says Parker would pull the dispatcher away during work hours. This left just one person to handle emergency calls from the public, his lawsuit says.

The whistleblower lawsuit also says the relationship further endangered the public. It claims the dispatcher engaged in “negligent and reckless conduct.”  

Her failures included falling asleep at her desk, appearing under the influence, and not providing help to those who had called 911, according to the complaint. 

However, Parker allegedly protected the female employee. The lawsuit states the dispatcher bragged at work she would never face disciplinary action as long as she performed sexual favors for the chief. 

After repeated complaints from other officers within the department, including the dispatcher’s supervisor, the SPPD fired her in July 2020. 

Siedenburg says the chief repeatedly threatened and damaged his career over the years. At one point, Siedenburg was transferred to the department’s patrol division, allegedly on orders from Parker, after raising the alarm. Siedenburg also claims Parker sabotaged his efforts to become chief. 

Matthew A. Peluso, Siedenburg's attorney, said the borough, police department, and other authorities had “numerous opportunities” to take action.  

“My client feels very strongly,” Peluso told New Jersey 101.5. “His allegations are very detailed.” 

Earlier this month, Peluso filed a motion to appoint a new judge to the case. It claims the presiding judge has “personal and professional conflicts” with the defendants and witnesses. 

A motion to dismiss filed by the municipality claims there hasn’t been enough evidence to take action. Siedenburg has gone more than a decade with little to officially show for his complaints, attorneys for the municipality argue. 

However, the same motion from the defense hints Siedenburg’s efforts may have already produced results. It states Siedenburg was “able to get Parker’s predecessor to retire.” 

The lawsuit says that in 2008, Siedenburg went to then-Mayor Charles Butrico to blow the whistle on misconduct by then-Chief John Ferraro and Parker, who at the time was a lieutenant. The lawsuit says they were viewing pornography at work.

Siedenburg claims the mayor, who didn't publicly acknowledge the allegations, suggested that Siedenburg convince Ferraro to resign as chief.

In 2010, Siedenburg sent documents allegedly proving the misconduct to members of the Borough Council and the mayor. Three months later, Ferraro retired as chief in May 2010.  

It's not clear from the litigation whether Ferarro retired as a result of the documents that Siedenburg provided to officials.

There is a Superior Court hearing scheduled for Friday. 

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