A Hempstead village police officer was arrested for allegedly groping a woman’s chest in front of her young children four months ago, Nassau County prosecutors said.
Louis Arcila pleaded not guilty Thursday at Nassau County court to charges of official misconduct, endangering the welfare of a child and sexual abuse.
“The defendant allegedly followed a woman into a car and sexually assaulted her in front of her two children, while wearing his police shield in plain view,” Acting Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said.
Prosecutors said the 49-year-old Roslyn Heights man was off-duty but had his police shield clipped to his waist when he followed the victim to her parked car leaned over, and grabbed at the victim’s right breast at 10:30 p.m. June 28.
When the victim pushed his hand away, he moved his hand to the victim’s inner thigh and then moved his hand back up to the victim’s breast a second time, authorities said. Her three-year old daughter and 10-year old son were in the car at the time. The woman’s adult nephew also witnessed the attack, which occurred outside El Rancho Catracho restaurant, according to investigators.
The Hempstead Village Police Benevolent Association, the union that represents the department’s officers, released a statement denying the allegations and questioning the timing of the grand jury’s indictment.
“We are confident that the officer will be vindicated once all of the facts are presented in court,” the union said in its statement. “We also would like to note that the timing of this indictment is troubling, since it comes just a few days before” Election Day.
Judge Terrence Murphy released the officer without bail. If convicted, he faces up to a year in jail. He is due back in court Nov. 13.