AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – The Aurora Police Department knew it had a dangerous officer and still let him to work with children. That’s one of the allegations in a federal lawsuit filed on behalf of a teenager sexually victimized by the officer.
The lawsuit was filed in court last week. The city of Aurora and the police department wouldn’t directly comment on the pending case, but police Chief Dan Oates says the department charged Michael Mangino with every crime it could once it learned of the allegations against him.
Mangino worked with children in the department’s D.A.R.E. program. He’s now faced with a civil lawsuit after his criminal conviction.
“I’ve never had to deal with a cop who did something like this to a 15-year-old,” Oates said.
In April Mangino pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation of a minor after allegations that he forced a 15-year-old girl to take naked pictures of herself with his cellphone. Now the minor is seeking financial damages in the civil suit.
The teen’s attorney, David Lane, says the police department ignored past complaints about Mangino’s behavior.
“The director of the Women’s shelter went to the Aurora Police Department, filed a complaint, and they promptly threw that complaint into the trash,” Lane said.
“It involved an allegation of misconduct that was non-criminal and the sergeant didn’t handle it correctly,” Oates said.
Lane says his client became Mangino’s next victim. During his sentencing Mangino told the court that “sexual deviance has been a fabric in my life since about 16 years old.” He went on to say sexual deviance is a widespread problem within the police department, ignored by administrators because they are involved in similar deviant sexual activity.
“Let me tell you how angry that makes me. Understand the person saying this is a convicted felon who was engaging in behavior as a predator and disgraced our badge,” Oates said.
“If Aurora has a custom practice or policy of tolerating this sort of behavior, then Aurora as a municipality is liable to my client as well,” Lane said.
Mangino is serving out five years of heavily supervised probation.