A veteran Anne Arundel County police officer was arrested yesterday on charges of raping a 23-year-old woman during a routine traffic stop in Pasadena two weeks ago.
Officer Michael Ziegler, who had been on the force 18 years and worked the midnight shift at the Eastern District station, turned himself in at 4:45 p.m. yesterday, police said. He was charged with second-degree rape after a departmental investigation.
Officer Ziegler has been suspended with pay since Nov. 15, when the Crofton woman filed a complaint charging that she had been raped on the front seat of his patrol car.
A hearing will be held to determine whether Officer Ziegler will be stripped of his salary, police said.
After his arraignment in District Court yesterday, Officer Ziegler was released on his own recognizance without posting bail, a police spokesman said.
If convicted of the rape charge, Officer Ziegler could be sentenced to 20 years in prison.
The Crofton woman told police she was driving her truck near 221st Street in Pasadena early Nov. 15 when an officer stopped her. He had suspected she was driving under the influence of alcohol, according to sources close to the investigation.
The officer asked her to get into his marked patrol car and promised to drive her home, the complaint alleges.
But the officer drove past her street and turned into a parking lot nearby in Crofton, investigators said.
Officer Ziegler is charged with sexually assaulting the woman in his patrol car.
When the officer drove her home, the woman called 911, the complaint said. She filed a complaint by phone at 3 a.m. and was taken to North Arundel Hospital, where officials said she was treated and released by 6 a.m.
Physicians found evidence she had been raped, said hospital spokesman Kevin Murnane.
The case marks the second time this fall that an Anne Arundel police officer has been accused of sexual misconduct.