A Westchester County man pleaded not guilty Friday to charges of impersonating a police officer and luring a 14-year-old girl from the sands of Jones Beach to his car in a nearby parking field.
Roberto Villavicencio, 36, of 135 Spruce St., Mamaroneck, was released after he posted $5,000 bail. He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in First District Court in Hempstead to charges of second-degree criminal impersonation of a police officer and endangering the welfare of a child. Both are misdemeanors that upon conviction carry a maximum sentence of up to a year in jail.
Police said they were called Thursday evening to the central beachfront at Jones Beach State Park after friends reported the girl missing. She and her boyfriend, 16, were found in Parking Field 4 along with Villavicencio near a gray 2002 BMW that police said belongs to Villavicencio, court documents said.
The girl told investigators that she had arrived at Jones Beach with her boyfriend at about 5 p.m. Thursday, according to her statement taken by police and entered into court records. About a half-hour later, the couple was smoking cigarettes and sharing a beer when Villavicencio approached them and identified himself as an off-duty police officer, the statement says.
Villavicencio told the girl to follow him to his car, where he could get his badge and "run" their names for warrants, court records said. The boyfriend joined them, and Villavicencio asked where the girl lived and if she was having sexual relations with her boyfriend, according to court records.
Villavicencio did not touch her, the girl's statement said.He also asked for and entered the names of the teens' friends into his iPhone and pretended to call a fellow officer, records said.
After police arrived, Villavicencio told them, "I was talking to them about doing the right thing. Me and the guy were walking and talking and the girl followed. My 15-year-old cousin got pregnant and I was just talking to them," according to a responding officer's report.
Villavicencio could not be reached for comment.
At the arraignment, Villavicencio's lawyer, Alexandra Tawfik of the county Legal Aid Society, said he does not have a criminal record, lives with his parents and works in sales. Tawfik said there are substantial issues with the case.
Judge Helen Voutsinas issued an order of protection barring Villavicencio from communicating directly or indirectly with the girl. His next court appearance is set for Tuesday.
About 50,000 people visit Jones Beach on Thursdays in July, said George Gorman, deputy regional director of New York State Parks.
Richard O'Donnell, chief of the State Park Police, said police have "advised our patrol that are on duty at the location to be on alert for anything related to this.""We believe it to be a one-time incident," O'Donnell said. "But we'd be interested in hearing from anyone else who may have information on this particular case or any other case related to it."
Anyone with information can call 631-321-3700 and ask to speak with the detective unit.