Two Lauderhill Police Officers Arrested in Sexual Favors Case

Officers accused of inappropriately touching and illegally receiving sexual favors from two women

Two Lauderhill Police officers were arrested after inappropriately touching and illegally receiving sexual favors from two women following a traffic stop, authorities said.

Officer Franklin Hartley, 33, and Officer Thomas Merenda, 34, are both facing charges of simple battery and unlawful compensation, according to the Broward State Attorney's Office.

Hartley and Merenda were released after posting bond Friday. It was unknown whether they have attorneys.

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According to arrest reports, the incident happened on May 24, 2012, at about 4 a.m. when Hartley performed a traffic stop on the women at a Taco Bell at 7652 West Commercial Boulevard in Tamarac. The women had just left Vegas Cabaret in Lauderhill and were intoxicated, the reports said.

During the stop, Hartley talked about their potential arrest and told the women to follow him in their car to an isolated location behind a business on West Commercial Boulevard, the reports said.

Officer Merenda met the two women and Hartley at the isolated area, where Hartley had a lengthy sexual encounter with the passenger, the reports said.

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Afterward, Merenda told the woman who had been driving the car to punch him in his genitals, the reports said.

She "refused to do what the officer requested but he reassured her that this was okay and this turned him on," the reports said. Hartley told the woman that Merenda enjoyed being punched in the genitals, the reports said.

The woman then complied and punched him in the genitals, the reports said. Before they released them, the officers groped the two women, the reports said.

Investigators relied on squad car GPS and cell phone records to verify the allegations. One of the victims told investigators that, after the encounter, Hartley called her several times and sent her a picture of himself, officials said.

"I and the men and women of the Lauderhill Police Department are truly disappointed with the nature of the allegations made against these two officers and if they are proven to be true, the consequences should be severe," said Lauderhill Police Chief Andrew Smalling in a statement made Friday.

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