Nassau police officer pleads not guilty to rape, harassment charges

Nassau County Police Officer John Ingardia appeared solemn as he walked into court on Wednesday.
The 29-year-old pleaded not guilty to rape in the third degree and harassment in the second degree.
The charges stem from an alleged incident on Sept. 29, 2021. According to the felony complaint, Ingardia and the victim were having consensual intercourse when he allegedly got violent. The complaint says that she asked him to stop saying, "this is too much, I don't want this."
The complaint alleges that Ingardia refused those requests.
Ingardia did not speak during or after Wednesday's hearing, instead he had his legal team talk to reporters.
One of his lawyers, William Petrillo, told News 12 a different story.
He said, "we are extremely confident that he will in fact be fully exonerated and cleared of all of these charges because he is actually innocent in this case."
Ingardia's lawyers also say he and the woman had a consensual relationship for four months, one that continued after the alleged incident. They also have a child together.
His lawyers claim her accusations came out in 2023, after Ingardia initiated family court, which he did to get more access to his child.
Petrillo explained, "The complaint itself against him wasn't made until almost two years later, only until Family Court rulings were going very much against the complainant and in favor of this police officer."
Ingardia's lawyers said he currently has access to his child at least three days a week.
In court on Wednesday, the judge refused to issue an order of protection for the alleged victim. The judge explained his decision stemmed from the fact that he had already vacated a order of protection back in September, which he added is a rare occurrence. He continued to say he has no reason to believe the need for one has changed in this case.
This case is due back in court on Jan. 9.
Ingardia's lawyer say he's still an active police officer with eight years on the force.
Nes 12 reached out to the Nassau County Police Department for further details on the status of his employment and current position, but has yet to hear back.
Ingardia was named one of Nassau County Legislature's Top Cops for September 2022. The honor stemmed from an investigation at the Edgewood Motel in Westbury. Ingardia and three other officers' actions led to multiple felony charges for alleged gang members including robbery and kidnapping.