A 34-year-old police officer in Watervliet, New York faces several felony counts of criminal sex acts against a 16-year-old girl he met while serving as a school protection officer, WNYT-TV reported.
Investigators said Joshua Spratt met the girl while working at Watervliet High School, and engaged in the illegal activity at two nearby cemeteries, as well as a local parking lot. An order of protection has been filed for the girl.
Spratt also allegedly carried out the same type of behavior with a 17-year-old girl from the same school. She was not included in the charges because she is able to consent under state law. However, authorities also issued orders of protection for her and a 17-year-old witness.
Albany County District Attorney David Soares said that prosecutors have amassed evidence against the officer including phone and text messages, as well as video footage.
“Right now, the emotion that an entire community is going to be going through is one of outrage,” Soares told the Albany Times-Union. “What I’m hoping for as a result of this dialogue is that this community does come together — and if there are other victims out there that we create an environment where those people can come forward.”
If the allegations against Spratt are confirmed, local school superintendent Lori Caplan said, they represent “an egregious betrayal of trust.”
“We welcomed somebody into our school whose role was to keep our students safe,” she said. “And if these allegations are true, he played upon that role and upon his power and position, for lack of a better term. And I take that very personally.”
Spratt, an Army reserves veteran who has served in Iraq, was first assigned to the school in September 2013. He could face between 5 and 1/3 and 16 years in prison on the felony charges, and is also accused of child endangerment and official misconduct, two misdemeanors. He is currently free after posting $50,000 bail.
Watch WNYT’s report, as aired on Monday, below.