MANALAPAN — A police officer who let a 16-year-old girl sit in his patrol car during the recent annual National Night Out celebration began sending sexually explicit messages to her later that night, officials say.

Hours after Kevin Ruditsky, 46, met her at the annual police-community event on August 1, he sent her graphic photos and messages via social media, prosecutors said.

Several days after the event, which Ruditsky helped plan in years past, he pulled over the girls' car on Route 9. He turned his body and dash cam off before handcuffing the girl and trying to kiss her, prosecutors said.

Ruditsky also looked her up on a law enforcement database and one time parked his patrol vehicle outside her home, according to Santiago.

“That a sworn member of law enforcement would begin to so egregiously violate the public’s trust while in uniform at an event specifically intended to strengthen trust between law enforcement and the public is, in a word, unconscionable,” Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond Santiago said. “Swift action in addressing this conduct, culminating in the charges being announced today, was an absolute imperative.”

Charged and suspended

Riditsky was charged with second-degree endangering the welfare of a child, second-degree official misconduct, third-degree computer theft, third-degree hindering apprehension, fourth-degree stalking, and false imprisonment, a disorderly persons offense.

He was taken into custody Wednesday and is being held at the Monmouth County Correctional Institution and suspended without pay.

Public records show he had been in the pension system since 1999 and earned a salary of $133,768.

Police Chief Edward Niesz said he was "deeply saddened and disturbed that this victim had her trust betrayed by a man wearing one of our uniforms."

“The men and women of the Manalapan Township Police Department are and should be held to the highest moral and ethical standards, and it troubles me that the actions of one individual can stain the reputation of all of us," he said in a written statement. "We will remain transparent and accountable to our community.”

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