DARTMOUTH, Mass. (WPRI) — A Dartmouth police officer is facing rape and indecent assault charges in connection with incidents involving two children.
According to the Bristol County district attorney’s office, Patrolman Shawn Souza was arrested by state police Thursday following a report from the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and an investigation by the DA’s special victims unit.
Souza, 37, of Dartmouth, was arraigned Friday on charges of rape of a child by force, rape of a child – aggravated by age difference, and two counts of indecent assault and battery on a person under 14 years old.
He pleaded not guilty and was ordered held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing scheduled for Monday.
The Commonwealth has filed a motion asking he be detained pending trial.
Souza’s defense attorney Kevin Reddington told Eyewitness News his client was shocked by his arrest and 100% denies the allegations.
The DA’s office said the alleged incidents occurred in Dartmouth.
In a statement to Eyewitness News, Dartmouth Police Chief Brian Levesque said the incidents did not occur while Souza was on duty. He also said Souza has been placed on paid administrative leave as the investigation continues, and his gun and badge were seized.
“When we were made aware of the allegation against one of our officers by DCF, we immediately contacted the Bristol County DA, and have cooperated fully with them throughout their investigation,” Levesque said.
Souza has been a member of the department since 2008, according to police.
Reddington said Souza was active in the Army for 17 years prior to becoming a police officer.