NYPD cop accused of public lewdness last year found not guilty of first charge, attorney says

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A New York City Police Department detective who was arrested by Rockville Centre police last year and charged with four counts of public lewdness was found not guilty in Nassau County District Court for one of the charges last week, according to his attorney.

Robert Francis, a 17-year member of the 71st Precinct in Brooklyn, was also charged with three counts of endangering the welfare of a minor, three counts of criminal trespassing and one count of trespassing in five separate incidents after being taken into custody on Sherman Avenue on the early morning of March 26, 2017.

Charles Gennario, Rockville Centre’s police commissioner at the time, said at a news conference the day after the arrest that Francis admitted that “he was responsible for those incidents in Rockville Centre” in which he allegedly exposed himself and masturbated in the backyards of four village homes between February and March, the Herald previously reported.

Francis’s attorney, Peter Brill, said at the time that three of the victims described the perpetrator as a white man, and the other two did not positively identify Francis. “But he was a black guy in a white neighborhood and was the focus of police attention,” Brill told the Herald in a phone interview on Oct. 11 after he said Francis was found not guilty by a jury on one of the charges.

He added that Francis was fooled into signing a document that police took as a confession. Francis is due back in court on Oct. 24 to face charges in regards to the other alleged incidents, Brill said, even though, he noted, the perpetrator in those was described as white.

“We’re gratified by the decision,” Brill said, “and we will be going on to fight the charges that remain open.”

Village spokeswoman Julie Scully did not respond to the Herald’s request for comment.

Editor's Note: The Herald published this story in print with a headline that was mistakenly cropped, making it misleading to readers. It has been changed here. We regret the error.