TRENTON -- A New Jersey state trooper admitted on Monday that he pulled over women on state highways to ask them out and tampered with police records to cover it up, authorities said.
Marquice Prather, 38, pleaded guilty to charges of invasion of privacy and evidence and records tampering in front of Judge Benjamin S. Bucca in Middlesex County.
Prather was suspended without pay in December after internal investigators uncovered "a pattern of pulling over women, ranging in age from 18 to 42, and soliciting them to go on a date with him or give him their phone numbers," authorities said.
The state Attorney General's Office said Monday that Prather admitted searching the cell phones of several female drivers "without justification," rifling through their electronic personal data. In some cases, authorities said, Prather "reproduced intimate photos and videos of the women."
He also admitted getting rid of suspected marijuana he had seized from the vehicle of a woman in one of the cases, and to falsely reporting the gender of drivers he pulled over to hide his habit of targeting women for stops.
Under a plea deal, Prather must give up his job as a trooper and is barred from public employment in New Jersey, according to the state Division of Criminal Justice, which handled the case.
Prather's attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.