A rookie Anne Arundel County police officer was stripped of his badge and sentenced to serve six days in jail yesterday after admitting to snapping a picture of himself fondling a teenager's breasts during a traffic stop.
Joseph Francis Mosmiller, 23, pleaded guilty to misconduct in office for the Jan. 20 offense and apologized, adding, "I made a mistake. and I'm ready to accept the consequences of my actions."
Anne Arundel Circuit Judge William C. Mulford II suspended all but six days of a three-year sentence and ordered Mosmiller to serve 30 days under house arrest, cooperate with a continuing internal affairs investigation and be placed on supervised probation for three years.
Charges of fourth-degree sex offense, misdemeanor assault and false imprisonment were dropped.
In a tearful statement in court, the 19-year-old victim said Mosmiller's actions caused psychological damage, made her afraid of police officers and strained her relationships with family and friends.
"I am worried that they will judge me," she said. " ... I don't know if I can ever return and have a normal life."
The Sun does not identify victims of sexual crimes.
Mosmiller pulled over the then-18-year-old after she picked up a friend at a bar, and he conducted sobriety tests on her in a Pasadena church parking lot, according to court testimony. He told the teenager that she could avoid jail time for drunken driving if she and her passenger exposed their breasts.
The passenger refused, but, fearing jail, the victim complied, and Mosmiller snapped a picture as he fondled her breasts.
Mosmiller did not file a report on the stop. No charges were filed against the teenager, who drove directly to a police station to report the incident.
According to court statements, Mosmiller had made similar demands of at least two other women, who refused his request.
Assistant State's Attorney Frank J. Ragione said the misconduct charge, a misdemeanor, called for probation under sentencing guidelines, but he said he wanted more for such a breach of public trust.
"I didn't want him to be just on house arrest," Ragione said. "I wanted him to see the inside of a detention center, ... which is no picnic for a police officer."
Mulford agreed, telling Mosmiller that he had exploited his position.
"Despite your background, ... it is entirely appropriate that you go to jail," he said to Mosmiller, who joined the department last year and was commended for foiling a robbery in December.
His attorney, Michael J. Belsky, said that Mosmiller is looking forward to getting on with his life. He is engaged to be married in October.
Jennifer Pollitt Hill, executive director of the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault, said the sentence was too light, and that little justice was done.
"Lots of other people are going to choose not to report because of the poor behavior of this officer and the justice system not taking it seriously," she said. "When justice is not served, it is a reinforcement that the system doesn't work."
Mosmiller is at least the fourth Anne Arundel County officer to face criminal charges this year. The three others, who have been charged in domestic incidents, remain on the force.
In connection with Mosmiller's infraction, three other rookies were assigned to desk duty. Police would not say what roles they might have played.
In a statement issued after the sentencing, Col. James Teare Sr., chief of the Anne Arundel County Police Department, said he was unable to comment on Mosmiller because an investigation is pending.
"Maintaining the trust and support of the citizens we serve is a significant priority for our department," the statement said.
The victim's attorney, John T. Hamilton Jr., said his client is satisfied with the sentence.
"He got some jail time, and she is happy with that, she thought it was appropriate," Hamilton said.
However, he said a civil lawsuit is likely.