Paterson NJ Police Officer Accused of Sexual Assault Costs the City Millions, Could Receive Full Retirement Benefits

A Police Officer from Paterson, New Jersey who was tried in both criminal and civil cases in connection with a sexual assault case, may soon receive $70,000 from the city upon his official retirement from the Paterson Police Department.

Officer Manuel Avila originally faced charges for sexual assault after a female inmate accused him of coercing her into performing oral sex on him in 2007. Although Avila was acquitted in relation to the criminal charges in 2011, the alleged victim’s family filed a civil lawsuit against the city of Paterson, which was ultimately settled when the family received payment in the amount of $710,000.

Avila reportedly received a psychological evaluation prior to the alleged incident which resulted in a determination that he was an unfit officer who should not be permitted to carry a gun. The city of Paterson subsequently attempted to fire Avila, accusing him of conduct unbecoming an officer and neglect of duty; however, these proceedings remain ongoing.

As such, Avila has been receiving administrative leave payments for the past seven years. The total cost to the city of Paterson in relation to proceedings in Avila’s case is estimated to be $1.6 million. Now, he may retire with a full $70,000 pension as well as medical coverage for the remainder of his life, due to his employment with the department for over 25 years.

This case comes on the heels of the investigation and resulting federally-mandated oversight of the Newark Police Department, which is likely to be instituted shortly by the U.S. Department of Justice. For additional details concerning the matter, see my previous post.

For more information pertaining to this case, access the following article: Suspended Paterson cop accused of sex assault has not worked in 7 years, could receive $70K in paid leave