PENNSVILLE TWP. — An off-duty police officer has been charged with lewdness for allegedly exposing his genitals to two children in a restaurant bathroom, police say.
Anthony J. Minguez, 31, of Carneys Point was also charged with disorderly conduct in the case, according to Pennsville Police.
Minguez is a Penns Grove police officer.
According to authorities, Pennsville police were called to the Applebee’s on North Broadway around 8:20 p.m. Wednesday.
They were met by a Penns Grove woman who said that while her 13-year-old and 9-year-old sons were in the men’s bathroom, a man exposed himself to them. According to police, the mom said her children ran out of the bathroom and told her about the alleged incident and she called police.
The man allegedly seen in the bathroom was later identified as Minguez, according to authorities. He was off duty at the time of the alleged incident.
On Thursday morning, the woman came to the Pennsville Police Department to sign complaints against Minguez — one for lewdness and one for disorderly conduct.
“We have been advised that a citizen complaint was signed against one of our officers at the Pennsville Township Municipal Court,” said Penns Grove Chief of Police John T. Stranahan Sr. “We have not been provided a copy of any of the information from the complaint.
“As in any case involving an officer, this matter will be forwarded to our Internal Affairs investigator for criminal and/or administrative review,” Stranahan said Thursday afternoon. “There can be no further comment by this agency until a review of all information is conducted via the Internal Affairs process and subsequently reviewed by the county prosecutor.”
Stranahan said that Minguez remains on duty.
Minguez was expected to be served with the summonses Thursday afternoon. According to the complaints, he is set to appear in court June 1.
Minguez was hired as a Penns Grove police officer in late June 2011.
“Our members are not above having charges filed against them just because they wear a uniform,” said Lt. Bob Gant, president of the Salem County Fraternal Order of Police. “They are entitled to a fair hearing and court proceedings as any other resident in Salem County. As with any charges filed against someone, these things need time to be sorted out through the proper channels.”
Community activist Walter Hudson called a press conference in the borough Thursday afternoon calling for Minguez to resign. He was joined by the boys’ mother at the event.
Hudson this month was granted an early end to the term of probation he was sentenced to after admitting to assaulting another Penns Grove police officer at a youth basketball game.
He is also running for a seat on Penns Grove Borough Council.
The Salem County Prosecutor’s Office will handle Minguez’s case now.