- Associated Press - Friday, April 5, 2019

DARTMOUTH, Mass. (AP) - A police officer in the town of Dartmouth faces child rape charges.

The Bristol District Attorney’s office says 37-year-old Shawn Souza was arrested at the police station on Thursday and is being held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing on Monday.

Souza pleaded not guilty on Friday to rape charges involving one child and indecent assault and battery on a second child.

Defense attorney Kevin Reddington says the charges against Souza date back more than 10 years and his client denies them. Reddington describes Souza as a respected 11-year member of the police force who has also served in the U.S. Army.

Dartmouth Police Chief Brian Levesque says Souza is on paid administrative leave. Levesque says the department was made aware of the allegations by the Department of Children and Families.

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