Mesa police officer fired for alleged sexual misconduct

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

MESA, Ariz. -- Mesa Police Officer Justin Cherry was fired from the force Wednesday following allegations of sexual misconduct while on duty. He had been on paid leave for about a year.

3TV obtained the more than 40-page investigation report revealing disturbing new details about the charges, which stem from investigations Cherry conducted in 2013.

Cherry appeared in handcuffs and wore a striped jail jumpsuit in court Thursday morning. He appeared stoic and said nothing.

He pleaded not guilty to two counts of sexual assault and one count of child molestation. However, his three alleged victims tell a much different story.

According to the investigation report, Cherry was accused of giving several females "pat-downs" that made them feel uncomfortable.

One case happened in an alley near Ninth Place and Country Club Drive in Mesa, where the victim told investigators that he violated her and said, "You're not going to say anything, are you?" It's a question he allegedly asked another woman he's accused of doing the same thing to on a disturbance call at an apartment complex on Alma School Road. That woman told investigators that she was scared to report it because she didn't feel anyone would believe her over an officer.

That same fear, prosecutors say, was instilled in a 14-year-old girl who said Cherry stopped her on her bike and "touched her under her breasts," and below her stomach.

Cherry denied at least one of the victim's accounts, saying "absolutely not" when questioned by prosecutors.

The investigation into the alleged misconduct took the better part of the year and in the end, prosecutors believed all three witnesses.

Cherry remains in police custody without bond and will be back in court on Sept. 19.


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