Hempstead Police Officer Louis Arcila was found guilty Friday of...

Hempstead Police Officer Louis Arcila was found guilty Friday of official misconduct and child endangerment. A Nassau jury acquitted him of a sex abuse charge following a 2015 off-duty encounter with a female restaurant patron. Credit: Howard Schnapp

A Nassau jury convicted a Hempstead police officer of official misconduct and child endangerment Friday in a verdict that also acquitted him of a sex abuse charge following a 2015 off-duty encounter with a female restaurant patron.

Prosecutors had accused Officer Louis Arcila, 51, of Roslyn Heights, of groping a 30-year-old woman outside a village eatery in front of her two children and while wearing his police badge on his waistband.

They also alleged during the Mineola trial that the groping happened when Arcila got into the woman’s vehicle uninvited on June 28, 2015, after first telling her he could give her a ticket “because I like your breasts.”

However, defense attorney Joseph Lo Piccolo had contended Arcila wasn’t wearing his badge that night and never touched his accuser.

The Garden City lawyer called the jury’s findings “contradictory” and “against the weight of the evidence.” Lo Piccolo added that he might file a motion to vacate the verdict before Arcila’s sentencing and expected his client to pursue an appeal.

The veteran officer, who has been on desk duty since his arrest, now is facing a top sentence of up to a year behind bars after his conviction on two of three misdemeanor charges.

Hempstead Police Chief Michael McGowan said late Friday afternoon he couldn’t immediately comment because he hadn’t yet received official notification of the trial’s outcome from the district attorney’s office.

Arcila joined the NYPD in 1991 before becoming a Hempstead officer in 2000.

“Nobody is above the law and police officers, when they wear that badge, whether they are on-duty or off, they have an obligation to serve the public and defend the people that are not able to defend themselves. In this case, Mr. Arcila clearly violated his duty and his oath,” Robert Cavallo, deputy chief of the Nassau district attorney’s Public Corruption Bureau, said in an interview after the verdict.

Cavallo said Arcila’s acquittal on a third-degree sex abuse charge wasn’t a disappointment because the jury “followed the evidence” after hearing testimony that included the woman’s account of what took place outside the Jackson Street restaurant El Rancho Catracho.

“She was clear in what occurred and she was cross-examined and the jury returned the verdict that they felt was appropriate,” he said.

Prosecutors had alleged Arcila followed the woman outside to her vehicle, groping her in front of her 3-year-old and 10-year-old — who told him not to touch her mother — while her adult nephew was still inside the restaurant.

Arcila will be back in front of acting State Supreme Court Justice Meryl Berkowitz on April 27 for sentencing.

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