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A police officer in the suburbs of New York City stands accused of stalking and sexually abusing a woman who he allegedly forced to strip for him, investigators said.
Peekskill Police Officer Michael Agovino, 33, was charged Saturday with first-degree sexual abuse, first-degree stalking, and second-degree burglary, according to the Westchester County District Attorney's Office, according to CBS New York.
Agovino was jailed pending a court appearance and has been put on administrative leave, the Peekskill Police Department said.
The alleged abuse began on July 9, 2019 when Agovino began investigating a larceny the woman was accused of committing, according to a complaint obtained by local newspaper The Journal News. Agovino told the woman he needed to meet with her as part of his investigation.
When the two met, Agovino allegedly forced the woman to take him to her home to search for stolen money, after which he forced the woman to strip and groped her breasts, according to the complaint.
Agovino was in uniform and on-duty at the time of the alleged incident, investigators say.
"Fearful of his authority, the fact that he was armed and that he might hurt her," the woman stripped naked and Agovino groped her breasts and told her she 'had beautiful breasts,'" the complaint reads, according to the Journal News.
Agovino then left the woman's apartment but allegedly returned unannounced later that month, investigators said. Agovino is accused of illegally entering the woman's apartment and threatening to arrest her if she did not either strip or perform oral sex on him. She then stripped again while Agovino allegedly groped her and touched himself, the complaint states.
Agovino is accused of again returning to the woman's apartment for a third time this January, ordering the woman to strip again over her protests. These allegations were apparently supported by the woman with a secretly recorded audio of Agovino. The woman then provided investigators with the tape.
The mayor of Peekskill, a Hudson Valley city about 40 miles north of New York, was appalled by the allegations.
"It's an embarrassment to our police department and our entire city as a whole," Mayor André Rainey said in Facebook post. "This behavior makes me sick and is intolerable. It was completely inappropriate and clearly unprofessional."
"We read and hear stories of police officers all over the world and we pray it never comes this close to our city and our community. This is a terrifying situation, beyond upsetting, especially with all the great news coming out of our city lately. In Peekskill, we expect our employees, in law enforcement especially, to maintain their professionalism and proper training at all times. We expect them to protect and respect, not take advantage of and intimidate," Rainey continued, adding that he would be calling a community meeting for the police chief to answer questions about the case.
Agovino has reportedly had legal issues in the past, having been sued for alleged police brutality in 2013, according to the Journal News reported. The lawsuit was settled out of court in 2015 and terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
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