A Toronto police officer is facing sexual assault and assault charges after a three-month probe by the Special Investigations Unit.

The allegations against Const. Salameh Marji stem from a traffic stop and subsequent search of a 21-year-old driver Sept. 2.

The SIU, which investigates all cases of serious injury, death or sexual assault involving police officers, received a complaint of “a sexual nature” about a week later and launched an investigation.

The arrest has escalated an ongoing battle between the Toronto police union and the province’s SIU.

Police association president Mike McCormack said the charges are politically motivated and he will soon be sending out a memo to members in support of the officer.

“There is no sexual purpose in a search conducted by an officer for weapons and contrabands,” said McCormack. “It’s our concern that when the SIU lays a charge like this, once again, it jeopardizes the confidence our officers have to do their jobs. We believe the SIU is laying frivolous charges again.”

Marji is the sixth Toronto officer charged by the SIU this year; a considerable jump from 2008, when only one officer was charged.

McCormack believes SIU director Ian Scott is trying to appease Ontario Ombudsman André Marin, who in the fall of 2008 said the SIU was a “toothless tiger” that was biased toward police.