A 23-year-old police officer working in Amboy and Vernon Center has been charged for allegedly faking a woman’s arrest, then asking her to flash her breasts in exchange for her release.

Steven Patrick Boyle of Austin is accused of participating in a prank with several other men, including the 18-year-old victim’s boyfriend. He’s been suspended and charged with misconduct of a public official, a gross misdemeanor.

The incident was investigated by the Blue Earth County Sheriff’s Department, which also requested charges of coercion and accepting a bribe.

According to the criminal complaint filed Thursday:

Boyle was working the night of July 4 and early morning of July 5 when he stopped at Pumpkinland near Vernon Center. Others there, except for the only female, knew he would be coming and he pretended to question them about drinking in their camper parked at the business.

The woman ran and Boyle chased her. After he caught her, he gave her a breath test, handcuffed her and put her in the back of his squad car. Then he told her she could avoid going to jail by showing her breasts.

She agreed, was released, returned to a campfire area and showed her breasts to the entire group. The woman, who later told investigators the incident didn’t bother her, was then told it was a prank.

Other records in the court file, including a transcript of Deputy Paul Barta’s interview with Boyle, show Boyle initially denied many of the details reported by others. He repeatedly told Barta he wasn’t on duty and wasn’t in uniform.

“I was in plain clothes. I did not have my badge with me. I did not have my gun with me. I did not have anything other than shorts and a T-shirt and my personal car,” Boyle told Barta, according to the transcripts.

When Barta confronted him about what others had reported, Boyle insisted on hearing a taped statement from the victim saying she wasn’t upset. Once Barta played that portion of his interview with the victim, who did say she wasn’t upset and didn’t want the officer to get in trouble, Boyle allegedly changed his description of what happened.

When the victim was interviewed, she told Barta she didn’t know Boyle before the prank. She also initially denied what others had said about the incident, but later told Barta the officer had handcuffed her, put her in the squad car and asked her to show her breasts, which she did.

She later picked Boyle out of a photograph lineup.

The incident was reported in a formal complaint to Boyle’s police chief, Kyle Hubert, by Stephanie Krosch of Amboy. Boyle had allegedly bragged to Krosch about what had happened and her report prompted the investigation.

Krosch is a law enforcement student at Riverland Community College in Austin and was allowing Boyle to stay at her and her husband’s house during the weekends he worked. Boyle lives in Austin and helped teach tactics classes Krosch attended at the college, court records said.

Hubert said he couldn’t comment on the incident because the investigation had been turned over to the Sheriff’s Department. He did confirm Boyle had been suspended shortly after Krosch filed her report.

Police officers convicted of a gross misdemeanor do not automatically lose their law enforcement license, said Paul Monteen, standards coordinator for the Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training. Incidents are reviewed by a complaint committee, which makes a recommendation to the POST Board, he said.

Boyle declined to comment when he was contacted Thursday.

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