University police officer charged with harassment
Published: Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, May 8, 2012 03:05
A university police officer was arrested last week following an investigation of harassing messages he allegedly sent to a 21-year-old female university student with whom he’d had a relationship, police said.
Demetrius Sharp, 31, of Kennett Square, Pa., allegedly sent harassing text, voice and email messages to the student after she ended their relationship on Feb. 18.
Sharp, who has since been placed on administrative leave by the university, attempted to contact her over a three-day period beginning Feb. 19, including while he was on duty as a uniformed police officer. The student reported he parked outside her off-campus home and shined a spotlight from his vehicle into her windows.
She contacted Newark police about Sharp’s alleged harassment, said Newark police spokesman Lt. Mark Farrall. Newark police officers spearheaded the investigation, which began Feb. 21, because the incident occurred within the department’s off-campus jurisdiction.
“I can’t think of a case like this happening in the recent past,” Farrall said. “What it comes down to is a jurisdictional thing.”
Sharp turned himself in to police on May 2 after he was alerted about a warrant out for his arrest.
Newark police officers consulted with the state attorney general’s office in the course of their investigation, according to Delaware Department of Justice spokesman Jason Miller.
Miller stated in an email message that a deputy attorney general has been assigned to prosecute the case.
“The next step would be presentment of the case to the grand jury for an indictment,” Miller said.
Farrall said it is police procedure to consult the state attorney general’s office with cases similar to Sharp’s.
“[With any] criminal case against a police officer, the case is brought to the attorney general’s office for review, so there is a delay,” Farrall said of the six-week investigation.
University police Chief Patrick Ogden declined to comment about the case. University spokesman John Brennan confirmed that Sharp has been a member of the university police department for four years and is currently on leave, but would not comment further.
Sharp was charged with three counts of harassment and one count of official misconduct. He was released on a $4,000 unsecured bond.