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Hempstead Village police officer reassigned over rape allegation

Hempstead Village officials say one of its officers

Hempstead Village officials say one of its officers was placed on administrative duty. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Hempstead Village placed one of its police officers on administrative duty following allegations an officer raped a Rockville Centre woman in 2019, according to village officials and court records.

The 51-year-old woman filed a $10 million lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Central Islip on May 8, alleging the officer threatened to arrest her if she did not get in his car, then raped her in a Hempstead parking lot and warned her not to disclose the encounter to anyone.

“The emotional and psychological damage to the plaintiff from the sexual assault and rape cannot be overstated,” the lawsuit reads.

The Nassau County district attorney's office investigated the allegations, the lawsuit complaint states. In a letter to Hempstead on Tuesday, the office said it was closing its file on the case.

"Further action by the Public Corruption Bureau of the District Attorney's Office is unwarranted," the letter reads.

Brendan Brosh, a spokesman for District Attorney Madeline Singas, declined to comment Wednesday on that conclusion.

The woman is named in the suit. However, Newsday in general does not identify alleged sexual assault victims.

The complaint identifies the officer only as “Jack.” Christopher Arzberger, the woman's Garden City attorney, said in an interview that the plaintiff’s team is not certain of the officer’s last name.

Hempstead Village Attorney Cherice Vanderhall said village officials believe the officer in question is Jack Guevrekian based on the woman's statements in a hearing with the village and because Guevrekian is the only Jack on the police force. The village placed Guevrekian on administrative duty in November.

“The village has zero tolerance regarding allegations such as these and will reserve its right to not indemnify an officer facing these types of charges,” Hempstead Mayor Don Ryan said in a statement.

With the district attorney's investigation now complete, the village police department will now conduct its own review of the matter, Vanderhall said.

Guevrekian did not respond to requests for comment.

The woman alleges she was walking down Terrace Avenue in Hempstead in May 2019, when the officer approached her in a car, according to the complaint.

The car was unmarked, and the officer was not wearing a police uniform, Arzberger said.

The officer told the woman to get into the car. When she declined, he said: “ 'Get in, or you’re going in cuffs,’ ” according to the complaint.

The officer previously had arrested the woman, who has battled drug addiction, the complaint reads.

The officer “knew that the plaintiff was a vulnerable individual who had trouble with the law in the past and could be easily manipulated using his status as a police officer,” the complaint reads.

Public records indicate Hempstead Police arrested the woman in 2012. She was charged with robbery and petit larceny. The first charge was dismissed, but she pleaded guilty to the second and served four months in prison.

The woman got into the car, and the officer drove her to a parking lot on Cathedral Avenue, where he allegedly raped her, according to the complaint.

Afterward, he allegedly said: “ ‘Don’t you say anything. And don’t let me see you or I’m getting you,’ ” according to the complaint.

The woman did not go to a hospital following the incident out of fear the officer would find out, according to the complaint. A few days later, however, she reported the episode to the district attorney’s office.

Arzberger declined to say what evidence supports his client's allegations or whether she told anyone other than district attorney staffers about the alleged incident shortly after it took place. He declined to comment on the district attorney's decision not to pursue the case.

Hempstead officials said Guevrekian was not working on the day of the alleged rape and that they “have no reason to believe” any village officers interacted with the woman on that date.

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