“Appalling and offensive to the sensibilities,” Waynesboro Police Chief James Sourbier said Tuesday of allegations that one of his former patrolmen sexually assaulted a young girl last year.
“Instinctively and uniquely angry (with the defendant)” was Franklin County District Attorney Matt Fogal’s reaction.
Both expressed dismay that such a crime had taken place under their watch.
“For most of us, whether a law enforcement officer or prosecutor, protecting our neighbors and
seeking justice for victims is why we chose this career,” Fogal said.
The county’s top law enforcement officer issued a news release announcing charges against former WPS officer William Everett Sublett IV at about the same time Chief Sourbier post a statement on the department’s CRIMEWATCH® page.
Crimes such as those Sublett is accused of are especially horrendous to those entrusted with protecting the public, Fogal said.
“As humans and made with flesh and bone like the rest of you, we are … instinctively and uniquely angry above all else,” he said.
When an officer commits a crime, it reflects on the entire law enforcement community, Sourbier said.
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Police chief vows to restore community’s trust
“(Sublett’s alleged actions) do not represent the values and ethics of the Waynesboro Police Department,” he said. “(We are) acutely aware that the expectations of our community have been tarnished by this occurrence.”
He vowed that his department won’t let the actions of one individual define the department’s future.
“We will work diligently to restore any semblance of confidence lost,” he said. “We will not compromise our commitment to the privilege of serving our community with fidelity, honor and integrity.”
See Sourbier’s full statement here.
Crime especially disturbing
Fogal said the alleged crime was especially disturbing because it involved a crime against a child.
“When the reported crime is sexual in nature, we cannot help but recognize the special implication on the victim’s psychological well-being,” he said in a statement released today (Tuesday). “(That is) especially so when that victim of a sexual crime is a child in our community.”
He said most individuals working in law enforcement are parents themselves, giving them a heightened sense of responsibility toward young victims.
“(When) the person that sexually preys on our child victim turns out to be a fellow law enforcement officer, we are extraordinarily angered,” he said.
The case was investigated “professionally and objectively” by Pennsylvania State Police and the DS’s office Bureau of Detectives, Fogal said.
The two-month long investigation resulted in a massive amount of physical evidence, according to court records.
Sublett was put on administrative leave Dec. 10 when the allegations came to light, and resigned in January.