Elizabeth police officer charged with sexual assault

A Union County grand jury has returned a two-count indictment against an Elizabeth Police Department officer, charging him with sexual assault, acting Union County Prosecutor Michael A. Monahan announced Friday.

Samaad I. Bethea, 22, is charged with second-degree sexual assault and fourth-degree criminal sexual contact.

A nearly two-month investigation by the Prosecutor’s Office’s Professional Standards Unit revealed that Bethea committed the alleged assault against an adult female victim in Elizabeth on December 14, 2018. The victim was not seriously physically injured.

The grand jury returned its indictment late Friday afternoon, and a first appearance in the case has been scheduled for Tuesday morning in the Union County Jail’s second-floor courtroom.

Convictions on second-degree criminal charges are commonly punishable by 5 to 10 years in state prison.

These criminal charges are mere accusations. Each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.