A Trumbull police department veteran who is accused of sexual assaulting one member of the police department's explorer program and sharing inappropriate texts with another has pleaded not guilty to sex assault charges.
Trumbull police said William Ruscoe, 44, a 20-year-veteran of the department, was suspended from duty and there is an internal investigation to determine if he violated any department policies or regulations.
The Connecticut Post reports that Ruscoe entered a not guilty plea in Bridgeport Superior Court on Tuesday.
His case was continued to April 28. Ruscoe and his lawyer declined to comment as they left the courthouse.
Ruscoe served as an advisor to the explorer program, which works with youth interested in possible law enforcement careers, for several years, according to a statement from Trumbull Police Chief Thomas Kiely.
The application for the arrest warrant says one victim is now 17 and he is accused of sharing inappropriate texts with her.
The other victim is now 18-year-old.
The investigation into Ruscoe started on Oct. 14, 2013, when a suspicious incident was reported at a high school in Tolland County.
The 17-year-old girl told police that she joined the police explorers program in 2011, when she was 14. Months later, her drill instructor, identified as Ruscoe, started sending inappropriate and flirty messages, the girl told police.
Then it escalated to Ruscoe asking the teen to send him photos of herself.
In all, the teen said she sent Ruscoe about 50 photos of herself, exposed and Ruscoe sent her inappropriate photos of himself.
During a cadet camp at the University of Hartford last year, the teen said she noticed Ruscoe paying attention to two Trumbull girls and told him that people were talking about him flirting with one of the teens in an effort to get him to stop flirting, police documents state.
After meeting with the teen, police searched her phone for the messages.
In January, police obtained a search warrant for Ruscoe's phone and met with him at the police station to retrieve it.
Ruscoe handed over his phone but said he did not want to provide the password or provide a written statement, according to the warrant application.
Ruscoe's attorney also told police that his client did not want to be interviewed.
Troopers met with the second victim, who told police that she was "very intimidated" because of Ruscoe's position and she did not want him to get in trouble.
She told investigators she joined the explorers program in December 2012 and Ruscoe started sending her inappropriate messages in 2013. when she was 17.
She told police that she did communicate with Ruscoe but only after he was very persistent.
In the texts, Ruscoe wrote that he loved the girl and the texts progressively became more graphic and sexual in nature, according to police paperwork.
She told police that Ruscoe begged the her to send him photos of her and she eventually did, according to police. She also provided police with information about three inappropriate incidents that occurred in June.
Ruscoe took the teen to a beach in Stratford and gave her a silver bracelet with a heart-shaped charm that said "Made With Love," according to police.
On another night in June, Ruscoe picked her up early in the morning after a "band gig."
He was drunk, she told police, became aggressive in a sexual manner and kissed her, but she tried to push him away.
At the end of the month, Ruscoe took the teen to a Trumbull home he had moved out of.
Once they were inside, he placed a gun on the counter and and was looking at her "in a threatening way that made her very uncomfortable," the warrant says.
The girl told police that things became sexual and she kept telling him to stop. He also restrained her hands behind her back with handcuffs while in bed, police said.
The girl told police she recalled one conversation in which Ruscoe said that if he ever got caught, he would go to jail and that he would kill himself if he went to jail.
She said this was intimidating and she did not want anything to happen to him because of anything he did.
The girl told police that Ruscoe had asked the teen to change his name in her phone to "Jack" because she liked the movie Titanic and told her he could get in trouble because of her age.
Toward the end of January, Ruscoe reached out to the 18-year-old and told her that police had come to take his phone because "an older friend that was a girl he used to help out was going through a rough time and she dropped his name," court documents said.
Ruscoe told her he was nervous that police would contact her because her number was in his phone and advised her not to say anything because she is 18 and is not required, the teen told police.
Ruscoe was charged with second-degree sexual assault, third-degree sexual assault, fourth-degree sexual assault and tampering with a witness.
Police released a statement about Ruscoe's arrest.
"I am deeply troubled and concerned by the nature of the charges that have been presented. We will make every effort to ensure that the integrity of the department and its officers is preserved as this case is investigated, and that the case is handles in a fair and timely manner," a statement from Kiely says.