A Massachusetts police officer who serves on a local homeless task force is facing charges of rape stemming from the assault of a teen.

Police in Lowell, Massachusetts, had been investigating the repeated assault and rape of a 16-year-old homeless girl that lived in the area. Officer Kevin Garneau was accused of the rape in January, though there was no evidence at the time. However, Garneau was placed on desk duty while investigators began looking into the allegations.

The assaults began in 2016, when Garneau allegedly entered the teen’s tent in an area that offers shelter to Lowell’s homeless population. Garneau was serving as a member of the Lowell Police Department’s homeless outreach unit when he confronted girl. He claimed that she had several outstanding warrants with local police for her arrest and he was there to take her in. He raped her in exchange for not taking her in at the time.

Garneau would assault the girl several more in the months following the original assault.

“I'm astonished and deeply disappointed,” Lowell Superintendent of Police Raymond Richardson said in a statement released to press. “I acted as soon as we were made aware of these allegation. This is not what the men and women of the Lowell PD represent.”

Garneau’s lawyer has flatly denied the allegations and charges brought against the former police officer.

Garneau is currently out and fitted with a GPS tracker to ensure he follows a court order to stay away from the teen. He is due back in court on July 23.

Police Scene
Representational image of a crime scene. Suzanne Cordiero/AFP/Getty Images