Parents React To DARE Officer’s Arrest
AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – Parents gathered to get their questions answered about the arrest of an Aurora police officer Tuesday evening.
Officer Michael Mangino is facing two counts of sexual exploitation of a child. He’s a veteran officer and also a former DARE officer who worked at six elementary schools. Mangino is also being investigated in two other cases of possible misconduct.
Many parents listened inside, but the news media was excluded by Aurora Public Schools because of the sensitivity.
Sexually explicit pictures of a 15-year-old runaway girl were found on Mangino’s personal cell phone.
“There was alarm and fear and it was somewhat gut wrenching,” parent Rebecca Swihart said.
Swihart’s fifth grade daughter attends St. Pius X Catholic School.
“My daughter is currently in the DARE program and he was running the DARE program,” Swihart said.
DARE stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education. Mangino met with young students once a week.
“My biggest concern now is who was he alone with?” Swihart said.
She’s satisfied her own daughter was never in jeopardy. Parents were reassured by St. Pius that other students there were never alone with Mangino.
But Aurora’s police chief is worried there may other unidentified victims. In a news conference Monday, Chief Dan Oates revealed the officer’s cell phone also had video of Mangino in uniform having sex with adult women.
For Swihart, it’s disappointing news about a school resource officer she had previously trusted.
“For that to be questioned and jeopardized and for there to be a false sense of security, that’s the scariest part,” she said.
Besides the meeting with Aurora school parents, St. Pius Catholic School will hold its own meeting next Monday night.
Anyone with information about more possible victims is being urged to call Aurora police.