NYPD detective pleads not guilty to public lewdness charges

Robert Francis is charged with multiple counts of public lewdness and endangering the welfare of a child. Robert Francis is charged with multiple counts of public lewdness and endangering the welfare of a child.
HEMPSTEAD -

A New York City police detective accused of flashing young girls in Nassau County has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors charged Robert Francis, 46, with multiple counts of public lewdness and endangering the welfare of a child after police say he was caught exposing himself to teens last month in Rockville Centre.

The suspect's attorney, Peter Brill, says police arrested the wrong man as no one has identified Francis as the perpetrator. Brill also says some victims described the suspect as a white male.

Police say Francis confessed to the crimes after being arrested, but Brill contends that the confession was coerced after intense, nonstop interrogation by Rockville Centre detectives.

Rockville Centre Police Commissioner Charles Gennario stands behind his investigators and the case, saying the Francis was treated fairly and allegations that the highly trained NYPD detective cracked under pressure to confess are untrue.

According to police, Francis told them he would park his car in town, blocks away from where he sought out his victims. Police say he also told them that he had behaved similarly in other neighborhoods.

Police have charged Francis in connection with four incidents: one on Feb. 5, two on Feb. 27 and another on March 24. A temporary protection order was given to the five alleged victims.

Francis is a 17-year veteran of the NYPD from Queens. He was released on his own recognizance and is due back in court next month.

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