- Associated Press - Monday, March 14, 2016

BRIGHTON, Colo. (AP) - A suburban Denver police officer was charged with unlawful sexual contact after being accused of touching three women during early morning traffic stops, a prosecutor said Monday as authorities tried to determine if any other women had been victimized.

John Reinhart, 22, faces three misdemeanor counts and was served a summons Friday, 17th Judicial District Attorney Dave Young said.

He immediately resigned from the Commerce City police department, where he had worked since 2014.

Reinhart didn’t answer a knock on his door seeking comment.

Young said the former officer has retained an attorney, whom he would not identify. Court records don’t say who is representing Reinhart.

The investigation began after a woman told police in February about Reinhart’s conduct during a September traffic stop, Commerce City Police Chief Troy Smith said.

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation and the police department then launched an ongoing investigation into Reinhart’s past that includes an audit of 2,500 prior cases in which he was involved, Smith said. They discovered the other two women during that process.

Court records show all three traffic stops happened between 1:30 a.m. and 4:15 a.m.

Smith said the first woman was courageous for coming forward.

“Without her having the courage to come forward, we probably never would have learned about the other inappropriate conduct involved in the investigation,” he said.

Reinhart was put on leave in February after the woman reported the encounter.

In a yearlong investigation of sexual misconduct by U.S. law enforcement, The Associated Press uncovered about 1,000 officers who lost their badges in a six-year period for rape, sodomy and other sexual assault; sex crimes that included possession of child pornography; or sexual misconduct such as propositioning citizens or having consensual but prohibited on-duty intercourse.

The number is unquestionably an undercount because it represents only officers whose licenses to work in law enforcement were revoked, and not all states take such action.

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