A state Supreme Court judge last Friday dismissed the misconduct charge against a Hempstead Village police officer who resides in Roslyn Heights, who was accused of sexually abusing a woman in front of her children outside a Hempstead restaurant last June.
Louis Arcila, 49, pleaded not guilty after his October arrest and still faces misdemeanor charges of sex abuse and endangering a child’s welfare, according to court documents.
State Supreme Court Justice Terence Murphy found that while grand jury evidence showed Arcila made “degrading and inappropriate” boasts to the woman Arcila, there wasn’t official misconduct, according to Newsday.
“While he did carry his badge on his belt, there was no evidence offered that he presented his badge in any official capacity to the complainant in order to engage her in conversation,” the decision said.
Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas’ office filed notice this week that they’re appealing to a higher court for a reversal.
“The allegations of misconduct facing this defendant are very serious. We disagree with the judge’s decision,” Singas spokesman Brendan Brosh told Newsday.
William Petrillo, Arcila’s attorney, called the dismissal of the misconduct charge “the first step toward the complete exoneration of this police officer,” Newsday reported.
Efforts to reach Petrillo was unavailing.
Prosecutors said that in June 2015 Arcila followed a woman into her car and sexually assaulted her in front of her two children, while wearing his police shield in plain view.
“The brave and honest men and women of our police forces do an outstanding job keeping our communities safe, but when a member of the force tarnishes the badge by sexually assaulting an innocent woman, we will prosecute them without fear or favor,” District Attorney Madeline Singas said in a statement last year.
Prosecutors said on June 28 Arcila, who was off-duty and had his police shield clipped to his waist, was in El Rancho Catracho in Hempstead when the woman entered the restaurant.
The woman went in to pick up food, carrying her three-year-old daughter and accompanied by her adult nephew, police said. The woman’s 10-year old daughter remained in the car outside the restaurant, Singas said.
Arcila approached the woman and her family, with his shield in plain view, and began questioning the woman why her child was dressed a certain way, prosecutors.
The woman picked up her food and exited the restaurant and placed her three-year old in the backseat of the car, while her nephew remained inside the restaurant, police said.
Arcila followed the woman to her car and continued to speak to her through the passenger side window of the car, according to police.
During the conversation, police said, Arcila opened the passenger door of the woman’s car, sat down in the car, leaned over, and grabbed at the woman’s right breast.
As the woman knocked the defendant’s hand away, he moved his hand to the victim’s inner thigh, police said. Arcila then moved his hand back up to the woman’s breast a second time.
The attack ended, police said, when the woman’s nephew returned to the car and found Arcila groping at her.
The victim’s 10-year-old daughter witnessed the attack and threatened to put the defendant “in the hospital” if he continued to touch the victim, according to police.
Petrillo said any claim a badge was displayed is false and “added later” to boost the woman’s civil legal case.
The defense also maintains the woman told police Arcila didn’t actually touch her.
The woman’s civil attorney, Xavier Palacios of Mineola, said Friday he filed legal notice last year that his client planned to sue Hempstead Village, its police force and Nassau County.
The 30-year-old Hempstead woman took action because “she doesn’t want her daughter to feel that this is how authority acts toward women,” Palacios told Newsday.