Miramar cop charged with lewd conduct
A teen-age girl tells police a man wearing a badge ordered her to undress so he could make sure she hadn’t had sex.
06/29/2012 5:00 AM
06/29/2012 7:46 PM
One by one, the 15-year-old girl went through headshots of suspects.
Among them, she knew, was the man dressed as a police officer who she said ordered her to take off her pants and unbutton her blouse, and then spread her legs as he used a flashlight to inspect her.
The man she identified: Miramar police Capt. Juan De Los Rios, 46.
On Friday, De Los Rios was charged with two counts of lewd or lascivious conduct on an underage girl, according to the arrest affidavit. He was booked into Broward County Jail and held on $30,000 bail.
If convicted, De Los Rios could face up to 15 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
According to the arrest affidavit, the girl was sitting in the back of a car with a 19-year-old friend parked in the back lot of a business plaza in Miramar after school on Jan. 18, when a man approached the car and looked at them through the window.
He asked them to roll down the window.
Because he was in a dark-blue uniform and wearing a gold badge, the teens thought he was a police officer and complied.
The man then began to question them. At one point, he leaned against the window, looked at them, gave a hard long pause and asked: “Well, were you having sex? What are you doing here?”
The girl quickly responded “no, no, no, officer no,” the affidavit said. The girl told police she and her friend were just talking.
But the man told the girl he “needed to check.”
The girl asked “Check what?”
“I need to see inside,” he responded.
That’s when he ordered her to take off her pants and underwear so he could look for bruising or other evidence of sexual activity.
In fear, the affidavit said, she complied.
The girl told police she thought it “was the right thing to do” because he was an officer.
Her 19-year-friend turned away, unable to watch, according to the affidavit.
He told police he heard the man tell the girl “I need you to spread your legs wider so I can see.”
The officer then used a flashlight to “inspect” her and told her to pull down her blouse so he could check for bruising, according to the police report.
Then he returned the driver’s license to the boy and told them “Go home.”
The teens got into the front seats of the car, “cried, hugged and drove off,” the affidavit said.
The youngsters didn’t tell anybody at first because they were afraid and intimidated. But then the girl told her older sister, who insisted their mother be told.
When questioned by police, the girl said the man who’d ordered her to remove her clothing had a gold badge and his last name began with the letter “R.’’ She also said she knew she could identify the man if she saw him again.
Officials did not release the identities of the teens.
As far as evidence, investigators had the girl turn in the clothes she was wearing that day — one pair of blue jean pants, a Ralph Lauren sport sized T-shirt, a beige bra, and one pair of pink and black underwear briefs. They also asked the CVS Caremark near where the teens had parked for its surveillance video.
Although the quality of the video was not enough to identify De Los Rios, police say the body language was consistent with the victim’s and witness’ statements.
De Los Rios’ gold badge was also paper bagged.
The 18-year veteran of the department has been on administrative leave since the complaint was filed in January. Miramar police launched a criminal investigation along with the Broward State Attorney’s Office.
A warrant for De Los Rios’ arrest was issued Friday. He later turned himself in to police.
“He is now suspended without pay, pending the outcome of the investigation,” said Miramar police spokeswoman Tania Rues.
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