Hadley Plea

Former Egg Harbor City police officer Steven Hadley, left, pleads guilty to official misconduct at The Atlantic County Criminal Courthouse in Mays Landing, Tuesday Oct. 21, 2014, for using position to get sexual favors.

An Egg Harbor City police officer admitted Tuesday to using his position to have a sexual relationship with a confidential informant last year.

Steven Hadley, 32, of Port Republic, now faces a five-year suspended sentence under the plea agreement.

The nine-year department veteran was originally charged with four counts of official misconduct Sept. 24, 2013, the same day he was critically injured when his pickup left the Garden State Parkway and struck a tree.

Hadley pleaded to one count of official misconduct, and the others were dismissed. The plea took place before the case went to a grand jury, so Hadley had not been indicted.

He also forfeited his right to public service and signed away the rights to his pension.

Hadley entered the courtroom in a wheelchair. He was paralyzed in the fiery crash last year, and spent seven months in the hospital. His injuries are considered permanent, First Assistant Prosecutor Diane Ruberton said.

From April to May 2013, a woman — identified only as J.N. — became an informant after a drug arrest. In that capacity, she made drug purchases. She also had a sexual relationship with the officer, Hadley said.

“You understand that that constitutes official misconduct?” defense attorney Joseph Levin asked him.

Hadley replied yes.

“Today, Steven Hadley accepted responsibility for his actions,” Levin said after the court hearing. “He previously served as a police officer with honor and distinction. Now, due to a brief error in judgment, he no longer can valiantly serve the community.”

The complaint originally listed four women, stating that one relationship lasted from January 2010 until May 2013.

One of the women, Christine Meale, is suing the city, Hadley and officers she said knew about his abuse of power.

Meale, a hairdresser from Vineland, said Hadley demanded sex and had her provide him with drugs for his personal use.

Hadley did not admit to that case.

“He has gone from an unblemished, impeccable record to a criminal record,” Levin said. “It is a sad situation for all involved in the case.”

He is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 21 before Superior Court Judge Michael Donio.

Contact Lynda Cohen:

609-272-7257

@LyndaCohen on Twitter

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