AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – An Aurora police officer was arrested Monday, accused of sexual exploitation of a child and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Sgt. Cassidee Carlson with Aurora police released a statement saying Officer Michael Mangino, 50, is also accused of misdemeanor official misconduct “in connection with a single incident involving the arrest of a runaway 15-year-old female.”
Mangino was placed on administrative leave with pay on March 17.
“The allegation was that this event occurred while Officer Mangino was on duty,” Carlson said.
Mangino is accused of taking sexually explicit pictures of the teen on his phone. There were also other explicit photos and video on his phone, according to Chief Dan Oates.
“I think it’s safe to say he’s a respected and revered member of the department, and this is very, very hard for all of us,” Oates said.
Mangino turned himself into the Adams County Sheriff’s Office Monday morning. He was released after posting $20,000 bond. He was placed on administrative leave without pay per department policy.
Police will also conduct an internal affairs investigation.
Mangino has been with the Aurora Police Department for 29 years. He has also worked as a DARE instructor in several elementary schools.
“There is no evidence at this time that Officer Mangino victimized any other persons. However, because of his exposure to youth through the DARE Program, the Aurora police are working closely with the leadership in the schools where he was an instructor,” Carlson said.
Police say they recognize there may be other victims, adult and/or juvenile.
The department’s DARE program coordinator, Sgt. Morgan Sellman, 39, was arrested Dec. 17 in El Paso County south of Denver on suspicion of sexual exploitation of children following a child pornography investigation. Sellman, a 14-year veteran with the department, did not deal directly with children, police said. Carlson called both officers’ involvement with the DARE program a coincidence.
Dianne Lewis, a spokeswoman with Aurora Public Schools, where Mangino taught at four schools, said a public meeting is planned with parents Tuesday night.
Anyone with information in this case is asked to call Sgt. Joe Young at (303) 739-6093 or the Crimes Against Children Unit (303) 739-6155.