A Peabody police officer pleaded not guilty this morning to charges that he molested a stepdaughter over a several-year period, incidents that the teenager disclosed earlier this month, a prosecutor said.
Frederick Wojick, 48, a patrolman for the past 11 years, is charged with six counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14 and one count of disseminating obscene material to a minor.
Wojick was arrested Thursday following an investigation by Peabody and state Police.
His lawyer, Thomas Drechsler, said the "salacious, sensationalized allegations" are untrue and were prompted by a dispute between the teenager and Wojick over her relationship with a young man he did not like.
Prosecutor Kate MacDougall, however, said it was Wojick himself who first drew the attention of police, after he contacted a colleague earlier this month and reported that his family life was falling apart.
He told his colleague that he'd "joked around" and sometimes slapped the girl's backside, but denied anything more serious.
Wojick subsequently checked himself in to a hospital for treatment, as police investigated the situation in his home.
The girl, now 17, initially denied that there had been sexual abuse, only inappropriate comments, but three days later, disclosed that from the age of 11, Wojick had been inappropriately touching her on her breasts and between her legs, sometimes while in the guise of tucking her in to bed.
She also reported other instances when Wojick allegedly sat her on his lap and showed her pornography.
MacDougall had urged Judge Matthew Nestor to set bail at $10,000 cash, citing his ties to Florida as well as concerns about his mental status.
Nestor released Wojick on personal recognizance, with a condition that he not leave the state, and that he have no contact with the young woman or her mother, the latter condition set after MacDougall said Wojick was found texting the girl's mother while in police custody last night.
Wojick is due back in court Jan. 10.
For more on this story, see tomorrow's Salem News.