"Tony's very glad to be going back to work," said Steven D. Cahn, attorney for Anthony Sarni. "He's a police officer. That's what he's dedicated to doing — serving the town."
In September 2012 Officer Sarni "served" the town of Edison NJ by asking a woman staying in a hotel room to model lingerie for him. He'd gone to the hotel to respond to a fire alarm (which turned out to be false). When the woman said "no," Officer Sarni allegedly told her that her "fate was in his hands."
He earlier let her flush some pot down the toilet, so she took that as a threat that she might go to jail, she said later. But he gave up and left, she told investigators, with a promise that he'd return.
This account is based on reams of newly obtained Internal Affairs documents that include interviews with Sarni and investigators' descriptions of witness statements from the woman and hotel staff. NJ Advance Media received the reports via a court records request. Sarni, who was suspended with pay in October 2013 for alleged misconduct, is suing to keep his job. He is paid $120,000 a year, though he has not worked for the past 22 months.
The woman says Officer Sarni -- off duty but still in uniform -- returned to the hotel, made his way into the room and asked her again to model the lingerie. This time she complied. She says he got an erection and asked if things could go further. She refused and he eventually left, but she says he started sending her sexually explicit text messages.
Officer Sarni was suspended with pay in September 2013, and fired in October, but yesterday Superior Court Judge Douglas Wolfson ordered the city to return his badge and gun immediately. The judge sided with Officer Sarni's attorney, "who said that Sarni would be harmed if he was kept out of work."
Sarni has been suspended since the fall of 2013, and at 41 years old, was at risk of losing some of his skills as a police officer. After three years of suspension, he would have had to go back to the police academy, Cahn said.