SEA BRIGHT, NJ – A Sea Bright police officer has been charged by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office after allegedly committing a series of crimes against his ex-girlfriend.
Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago said Erich A. Bennett, 46, a resident of Sea Bright, was charged with multiple crimes, including cyber harassment, stalking, making terroristic threats and official misconduct.
Santiago said Bennett and the victim, an adult female, were in a brief dating relationship that the victim ended in late November.
“On Monday, December 5, Bennett showed up unannounced to the woman’s residence and threatened her with physical harm, prompting her to block him from contacting her electronically and to install security cameras on the exterior of her home,” Santiago said. “Then, on Sunday, January 8, the victim began receiving harassing and threatening messages via social media from an online persona, which the investigation connected to Bennett.”
Bennett has also been accused of slashing the woman’s tires, keying her car, removing her ring doorbell cameras and destruction of her flagpole.
Investigators determined Bennett was in the area during each act.
Police also revealed Bennett used police data systems on more than 30 occasions for non-law-enforcement purposes, specifically to access the personal identifying information of the victim and multiple individuals with whom she is associated.
He was arrested on Wednesday and has been suspended without pay from his job as a Sea Bright Police Officer.
“The facts of this case highlight a pattern of disturbing behavior,” Prosecutor Santiago said. “When a law-enforcement officer so egregiously harms a member of the very public they are sworn to protect and serve, it necessitates a swift and diligent investigation and apprehension.”
“The Sea Bright Police Department, from the onset of the investigation, cooperated fully with the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and supports their actions,” Sea Bright Police Chief Brett M. Friedman added. “We acknowledge that when incidents such as this occur, the trust bestowed to us by our residents and governing body may be called into question, but know that the Sea Bright Police Department is dedicated to providing the highest level of service to all we are called to serve.”
Anyone who has information about Bennett’s activities is being asked to contact MCPO Detective Ryan Mahony at 800-533-7443.