A police officer from St. Louis County faces felony charges in relation to accusations of criminal sexual conduct, after he was accuses of engaging in an inappropriate relationship with a teenager. The man is said to have participated in the sexual relationship more than 10 years ago, according to official reports, but the allegations just surfaced recently.

The 44-year-old officer resigned from the department after he was confronted with the accusations. The man had been a patrol officer whose route covered the North St. Louis County precinct. He became acquainted with the young girl shortly after he joined up with the police in 1999.

The girl had been a frequent runaway, and the police chief said that the officer had tried to mentor her to help improve her behavior and emotional stability. The relationship reportedly turned sexual after a period of time.

According to allegations brought forward by the police chief, the sexual relationship began when the girl was 14 and continued until 2003. The supposed victim, who is now over the age of 20, stepped forward earlier this month to report the relationship. Although the relationship was consensual, she said she wanted to inform officers just to be safe.

The man has reportedly admitted to some of the conduct described in the charges, and an internal investigation was launched into the matter this month, and is ongoing. The man was arrested and he is currently being held on a bail of $25,000, according to official reports.

The county police chief said that he had not heard of any previous complaints against the officer, so there was never any indication he was engaging in unethical or illegal conduct. He said that he was disappointed to learn that the man had apparently breeched the code of ethics.

Knowing the sensitive nature of these accusations, it is important for criminal proceedings to occur before any snap judgments are made about the man's suspected guilt. At the same time, this case is a reminder for those convicted of a crime to be advised of all their rights before they provide any information to authorities. This man's decision to tell police that some of the accusations were true may have a significant effect on the outcome of the trial.

Source: The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "St. Louis County police officer charged with sodomy," Christine Byers, May 17, 2012.