First Selectman Timothy Herbst responded Friday to the arrest of a Trumbull Police Officer earlier this week, calling the sexual assault charges “disturbing” and damaging to what he called an “outstanding police department.”

“There is no question that even the mere accusation gives the town a black eye,” Herbst said.

Officer William Ruscoe, 44, was arrested Monday for alleged sexual assault of a teen girl who was part of the Police Explorers Program. State Police arrested William Ruscoe, 44, Monday night, and charged him with second-degree sexual assault, third-degree sexual assault and fourth-degree sexual assault. He is also charged with tampering with a witness.

“Every person is innocent until proven guilty,” Herbst said. “I want to let the judicial process carry out.”

If the charges are proven true, Herbst said it won’t be tolerated on a personnel level.

“I read the arrest warrant and it was disturbing, to say the least,” he said.

For details on the investigation, click here.

The first selectman said he hopes that the arrest does not give the community a negative outlook on the department as a whole. During his time in office Herbst said he has witnessed great police work, including response to help neighbors in Newtown after Sandy Hook, and during major storms like Sandy and Nemo.

“I don’t want anyone to have a negative perception of a Trumbull police officer based on something they weren’t involved in and had no control over,” he said.

Police Chief Thomas Kiely said Tuesday that Ruscoe has been suspended from duty, and an internal investigation is under way to determine if he has violated any departmental policies.

“I am deeply troubled and concerned by the nature of the charges that have been presented,” Kiely said. “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 handled in a fair and timely manner.”

Ruscoe is scheduled to appear in court, Wednesday, March 5. His attorney, Michael Fitzpatrick said they anticipate entering a plea of not guilty.