Former Plainfield police sergeant sentenced to 6 years for criminal sexual contact, official misconduct

A former Plainfield police sergeant has been sentenced to six years in state prison for falsely accusing a city woman of crimes two years ago, then threatening her with jail time in order to coerce her into performing a sexual act, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Wednesday.

Samuel Woody, 44, was sentenced before state Superior Court Judge Alberto Rivas, who also ordered that at least five years of the six-year term must be served before the possibility of parole.

The date was July 24, 2011 when Woody, then a 12-year veteran of the Plainfield Police Division, arrested the victim, then a 27-year-old city resident, on bogus theft and burglary charges, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor James Tansey, who prosecuted the case. As the woman was leaving Plainfield police headquarters after being released on a summons, Woody told her he wanted to meet her later, Tansey said.

Shortly thereafter, in an outdoor lot on Madison Avenue in Plainfield, Woody threatened the woman with a prison sentence of five years in order to coerce her into removing parts of her clothing as he performed a sexual act on himself while in full police uniform, Tansey said.

The theft and burglary charges against the victim later were dismissed when no probable cause for her arrest was revealed in court, and the criminal contact of Woody subsequently was reported to police. A joint investigation by the Union County Prosecutor’s Office Special Prosecutions Unit and the Plainfield Police Division Internal Affairs Unit followed, and Woody was arrested in January 2012 and suspended without pay pending the investigation.

Woody was found guilty on charges of second-degree official misconduct and fourth-degree criminal sexual contact following a weeklong trial that concluded in December 2013. As a result of the conviction he also is barred from ever again holding public office in the state of New Jersey.