A Baltimore County police officer has been charged with sexually assaulting at least three women, who described a man who took advantage of social situations and his familiarity with his victims, according to the statement of charges.
Baltimore County Police announced Sunday that the officer, Anthony Michael Westerman, was arrested and charged with multiple counts of felony rape and misdemeanor assault.
Westerman, who had been assigned to the department’s Essex precinct, was arrested Saturday, according to online court records. He is being held at the Baltimore County Detention Center and was denied bail Monday.
Court charging documents detail Westerman’s alleged predatory tactics, including lying about promising to get an intoxicated woman back to her friend’s home safely and, in another situation, taking a woman away from a crowd to a secluded area.
One victim said she was scared to come forward because Westerman was a police officer, charging documents show. The records do not identify the women and The Baltimore Sun typically does not identify victims who allege sexual assault.
“The allegations made in this case are reprehensible and are not representative of the values and ethics of the Baltimore County Police Department," Baltimore County Police Chief Melissa Hyatt said in a statement issued Sunday. "As a result of a thorough investigation by the Baltimore County Police Department Criminal Investigations Bureau, the officer has been arrested and has been suspended without pay.”
Westerman joined the Baltimore County Police Department in 2013. Online court records did not list an attorney for the 25-year-old officer. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 3, according to online court records.
“This case was initiated when Baltimore County Police received information concerning the allegations,” according to the release. “The Special Victims Unit conducted their investigation and ultimately pursued charges against Westerman.”
Detectives began investigating Westerman on Oct. 16 after being notified of at least three women who allegedly were assaulted.
On Oct. 4, 2017, Westerman was buying shots for a crowd at a bar in White Marsh, according to charging documents. A woman, 22, who came forward said she was so drunk that she left the brew pub and passed out in her car. She insisted, the documents state, she wanted to stay there until she was sober enough to drive. She said she remembered a knock at the window and Westerman and her female friend were standing outside. Westerman said he would arrange an Uber to take the two women back to the second woman’s home.
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“You are going to Uber us back to my house, right?" the woman asked Westerman, according to police.
“Yes,” Westerman said.
But instead Westerman hailed a ride back to his home where he allegedly raped one of the women, according to court records. The 22-year-old woman told her friend about the incident and the two immediately left, police said.
On June 8 of this year, police said, a 20-year-old woman, who considered Westerman to be like a brother, was drinking at his home in Essex. The woman told police Westerman woke her up while she was sleeping in his guest bedroom and then allegedly forced her to have sex with him, charging documents say. The woman did not immediately report the incident out of fear because Westerman is a police officer, the documents said.
Two weeks later, according to charging documents, another 22-year-old woman was at a birthday party in Middle River with Westerman. Police said when the two were alone, Westerman took the woman to a secluded area where she thought he was going to share his plans to propose to his girlfriend. Instead, Westerman grabbed and tried to kiss the woman, charging documents allege. Documents stated this happened twice before the woman left with a relative whom she’d told about the incident.
Baltimore County Police have been criticized in recent years for their response to and investigations of allegations of rape and sexual assault. A special task force, formed in February at the behest of County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr., concluded that law enforcement rarely tested evidence from rape cases or filed charges in cases where victims delayed reporting.
It also found police still considered whether victims physically resisted when pursuing investigations and prosecutions, even though a recent law clarified such resistance is not necessary to prove a crime was committed.