A female New York State Police trooper pretended to be a man online and threatened to publicly post naked photos of a woman she met on an internet dating site if the victim didn’t buy her a fake driver’s license, authorities said Tuesday.
Jennifer Daignault, 31, of upstate Rome, pleaded not guilty Monday to three coercion charges at a Nassau County Court arraignment, according to court records.
Daignault had worked upstate at Troop D but is suspended from her job with pay, a State Police spokesman said Tuesday.
The Nassau district attorney’s office has alleged Daignault began a relationship with a 33-year-old victim that was limited to text messages after the two met on an online dating site.
Prosecutors say the victim, who lives in Nassau County, believed she was communicating with a man and sent numerous nude photos to Daignault.
But law enforcement officials allege Daignault then used the photos to coerce the victim into going to Queens and Manhattan and attempting to buy a fake driver’s license bearing the name of a 33-year-old man with an address in upstate Manlius.
Prosecutors said Daignault, who faces up to 2 1/3 to 7 years in prison if convicted of the top count against her, threatened to put the woman’s naked photos online if she didn’t obey her demand.
The charges allege the trooper used multiple online identities while pretending to be a man and committed the crimes last year between May and about the end of July.
The trooper’s Mineola attorney, Gerard McCloskey, said Tuesday he hadn’t yet seen the text messages involved in the case.
“I do think that these charges are overblown, and I anticipate that we’ll fight it out in court,” he said.
Acting State Supreme Court Justice Meryl Berkowitz released the trooper on her own recognizance after the arraignment.
Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas said in a statement Tuesday that the case highlighted the need to be careful when using online dating platforms and cautioned those who did so to limit how much personal information they shared before meeting people in person or speaking on the phone.
Online court records show Daignault also faces separate charges in Oneida County of coercion, stalking and aggravated harassment and pleaded not guilty in that case in December.