Cranford cop arrested on sexual assault charges

CRANFORD - A Cranford cop turned himself in on Friday after being accused of sexually assaulting a woman while on duty.

Brian Thomas, 37, has been on the police force for 12 years and is a familiar face around Cranford. Thomas is accused of fondling the victim?s breast when he responded to a call at the her home on June 22.

Cranford Police Chief Eric Mason says the police department immediately investigated the allegations and suspended Thomas without pay. The findings were then turned over to the Union County Prosecutor's Office.

Thomas' lawyer spoke out, warning residents against making a leap of judgment, pointing out a two-month lag between the incident and the arrest. The lawyer also raised questions about the victim?s motives, alleging that she had issues with the criminal justice system at the time of the arrest.

Thomas, who is being charged with fourth-degree criminal sexual contact and second-degree official misconduct, is now free on bail.

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