NJ cop arrested over alleged sex with minors

Michael Lalley

February 17, 2010 3:28:51 PM PST
FBI agents have arrested a Newark cop on accusations he gave drugs to and had sex with minors, as well as paying minors to have sex with each other. Agents arrested 42-year-old Michael Lalley, a sergeant in the Newark Police Department, at his residence in Jackson.

He is facing a federal charge of obstruction of justice.

According to the criminal complaint, Lalley has been employed by the Newark Police Department (NPD) in various capacities since 1990. The FBI was investigating allegations of police corruption, narcotics activity and sex offenses involving Lalley and others.

From spring of 2009 to the beginning of 2010, the FBI received reports that Lalley engaged in sexually explicit acts with several minors and caused the minors to engage in those same acts with him. The reports also alleged that Lalley had the minors engage in sexual acts with each other and with third parties, and that Lalley provided cocaine and marijuana to them.

The sexual acts allegedly occurred at Lalley's residence, as well as the Newark police station where he was assigned.

According to the complaint, Lalley paid between $25 and $60 to one victim in exchange for sex when that victim was a minor. This supposedly occurred once or twice a week for a period of two years.

The substance of the charge for which Lalley was arrested centers around allegations that he made several attempts to coach one of the victims into lying to the FBI regarding the allegations.

The complaint alleges that on January 4, 2010, Lalley contacted one of his victims by telephone to warn that he might be contacted by the FBI and that he should lie by stating that there was never any sexual contact between them. He also allegedly said that the victim should lie about his age at the time of the alleged relationship.

In subsequent recorded telephone conversations on January 12 and 19, 2010, Lalley continued to instruct the victim to conceal their sexual relationship. In one of the conversations, Lalley was heard instructing the victim to try to convince two other victims the FBI had been interviewing not to disclose any information about any sexual relations with Lalley, according to the charges.

The complaint further alleges that Lalley specifically told the victim that if he did not state he was over 18 at the time of their alleged relationship, that victim would have to testify in court regarding the matter.

In a third recorded telephone call that occurred on January 19, 2010 (the second one that day), Lalley allegedly explained to the victim that the FBI would never be able to prove the nature of the relationship between he and Lalley as long as he kept quiet.

Authorities say that by January 22, 2010, Lalley was insisting in another recorded telephone conversation that he and the victim meet because their telephones may have been tapped by law enforcement.

"The things for which Sergeant Lalley stands accused undermine the most basic values of law enforcement," said Kevin Cruise, acting Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Newark Division. "This type of news can put the reputation of all of us who wear a badge at risk. Because the public trust in law enforcement is at stake, it is imperative we take swift action to get to the bottom of this. To that end, we are asking the public to contact the FBI at 973-792-3000 with any information they believe to be relevant to the nature of these allegations."

If convicted on the obstruction charge, Lalley faces up to 20 years in prison and fines.