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Peace Officer Sexually Assaults Woman He Arrested and Handcuffed, DA Says

By Allegra Hobbs | September 27, 2017 4:36pm
 A peace officer working for a city agency sexually assaulted a woman after arresting her for trespassing.
A peace officer working for a city agency sexually assaulted a woman after arresting her for trespassing.
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MANHATTAN — A peace officer working for the city's Department of Social Services arrested a woman for trespassing before sexually assaulting her at a city facility while she was in custody, police and prosecutors said. 

John Lugo, 34, handcuffed the 43-year-old victim at the agency's center at 8-12 W. 14th St. on the morning of May 17, according to a criminal complaint.

He then groped the woman and forced her to perform oral sex on him while holding her inside the location while she remained in handcuffs, the complaint states.

During the assault, Lugo also told the victim he would not additionally charge her, the complaint states, without providing information on the alleged trespassing. 

He was arrested on Sept. 18 and charged with committing a criminal sex act in the first degree, sexual abuse in the first degree and coercion in the second degree, court records show.

Lugo, who is employed by the department's Human Resources Administration as a supervising special officer 1 or sergeant, has been suspended 30 days while disciplinary charges are pending, according to the agency.

He was released the day after his arrest when his $50,000 bail was paid, according to prosecutors and city Department of Corrections records.

He is due back in court Nov. 6. 

Roughly four years before being hired by the city, Lugo had been arrested for beating a woman in The Bronx, police said.

On May 16, 2008, he repeatedly hit the 22-year-old victim in the face in front of 760 Melrose Ave., causing swelling on both sides of her face and cuts over her right eye, police said.

The Bronx District Attorney's office did not return an inquiry on the outcome of that arrest.

He was hired by the city in September 2012, according to DSS.

All peace officer applicants must undergo a background check performed by the city's Department of Citywide Administrative Services, according to a DCAS guide, which states applicants must reveal all arrests, convictions and pending charges and may be disqualified if they have been convicted of a crime that reveals "lack of good moral character" or "disposition toward violence or disorder."

Lugo's background check didn't reveal anything that would have disqualified him, according to DSS.

A representative for the Human Resources Administration said the agency is working with law enforcement on the matter.

“The Department of Social Services takes the safety of our clients and staff members very seriously.  We will continue cooperating fully with the authorities in this matter and have taken and will continue to take appropriate action on this case," said spokesperson Lourdes Centeno.

Lugo's attorney did not return a request for comment.