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Officials: NYC correction captain from LI charged with sex abuse on job

A New York City correction captain from Islandia faces charges of sexual misconduct, forcibly touching and abusing a fellow officer at Rikers Island in January, city officials said Friday.

Timothy Cowen, 33, was arrested Friday on charges of forcible touching, a Class A misdemeanor, third-degree sexual abuse, a Class B misdemeanor, and second-degree harassment, a violation, according to a news release from the city’s Department of Investigation.

If convicted on all three charges, Cowen faces up to more than 15 months in prison. He was scheduled to be arraigned Friday.

Cowen approached and grabbed a female correction officer assigned to the administrative offices as she looked for a log book at the George R. Vierno Center on Rikers Island on Jan. 18, according to the criminal complaint and the Department of Investigation.

The victim pushed Cowen’s hand away and told him to stop. She again began looking for the log book, and he touched her again. She then pushed him away, but Cowen pulled her toward him, officials said.

The victim immediately reported the incident and Cowen was reassigned to another facility, officials said.

The Department of Correction said Friday he had been suspended without pay. Cowen has been employed by the agency since March 2007 and has an annual base salary of $81,879, officials said.

A correction spokeswoman said the department had zero tolerance for sexual abuse and assaults on staff and inmates and that the majority of its officers carried out their duties with care and integrity.

Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark G. Peters said in the release that Cowen, as charged, abused his power and authority.

The agency said Cowen’s arrest was the second of a correction employee for sexual misconduct it had made in as many months and was part of its broader investigations of sexual assault at Rikers Island.

Last month, correction officer Jose Cosme was charged with rape and engaging in other sex acts with a female inmate at the Rose M. Singer Center on Rikers Island in November 2015, the release said.

His case is pending and he is due back in court in December.


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