A Philadelphia police officer was arrested yesterday and charged with removing a man from a car during a road stop in March and sexually assaulting him in Fairmount Park.

Officer Michael Paige, 40, was suspended for 30 days, and will be fired afterward.

According to police, Paige was in uniform and in a marked patrol car on March 16 when he stopped a 1995 Lincoln Continental in Fairmount Park for reasons not spelled out.

During the road stop, Paige took one of the two male occupants of the Lincoln to a secluded section of the park, where the officer "engaged in non-consensual sexual activity" with the victim, the department said in a statement.

Paige, a 17 1/2-year veteran of the force assigned to the 92d District in the park, has been charged with unlawful restraint, deviant sexual intercourse and related offenses.

The alleged victim notified police, and the Internal Affairs Division launched an investigation.

Paige's lawyer, Gerald S. Stanshine, told the Associated Press that the accuser was one of two men in the car Paige pulled over, and that the men were allowed to drive away and the accuser later returned to the park looking for Paige. Stanshine declined further comment on the case.

Paige is the third officer arrested this year, but the case stands in sharp contrast to the others in the amount of time spent on the investigation.

In March, Officer Thomas Gitto, 40, was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting a teenage girl over a year-long period starting in 2004, after an investigation that lasted 15 months.

In February, Officer Chad Gugger, 29, was charged with aggravated assault in the beating of a man following a foot chase in West Philadelphia in October 2005, after an investigation that lasted 14 months.

Contact staff writer Joseph A. Gambardello at 215-854-2153 or jgambardello@phillynews.com.