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Cop impersonator/child molester suspect held

June 16, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A Van Nuys man accused of impersonating an officer and molesting young girls has been arrested.

The 24-year-old suspect faces more than a dozen charges. He remains behind bars Thursday afternoon as detectives at the LAPD Devonshire Station continue their search for more possible victims.

Joseph Rogero posed as a cop to gain the trust of his young victims.

"In some of our cases, there were some things that were given to these victims to make them believe that this person was a law enforcement officer," said LAPD Detective Michael Brox.

In at least one case, police say the suspect used a fake badge. The victims were all targeted near Lawrence Middle School in Chatsworth. All of the victims are girls between 12 and 13 years old who walking home from school.

Investigators say Rogero convinced the young girls to go with him, then he molested and sexually assaulted them.

The LAPD learned of the first attack in May and have now identified five victims, but detectives fear that there may be more out there.

"He's been doing this for a while," said Brox. "That's why we want to just reach out to the community and show these pictures, if anybody recognizes him from past contact, to contact the numbers that we have provided for you."

Rogero has been charged with 18 felony counts, including lewd acts on a child and kidnapping for child molestation. Authorities say the Rogero does not have any connection to Lawrence Middle School and at this point don't know why he targeted the area, but they want parents to make sure their children take a good look at Rogero's picture.

"We want them to contact their children, have them look at this person's picture. If they had a contact with that person, we need to know immediately," said LAPD Lieutenant Timothy Torsney.

Rogero made his first court appearance Thursday afternoon, but his arraignment was continued till later in the month. He remains in jail, held on $5.5 million bail.

If you or your child recognizes Rogero, contact the Los Angeles Police Dept. tip line at (877) LAPD-24-7.

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