Denver’s CBS 4 detailed a situation Sunday that has Aurora’s police chief defending allegations of rampant sexual misconduct within the department by a former police officer who blew the whistle in court while being convicted for sexual assault on a minor.
A lawsuit alleging the police department knew they had a dangerous sexual predator working for them, yet continued to allow the officer to work with children, was filed last week in a federal courthouse in Denver on behalf of a teenage girl, 15, who was sexually victimized by the officer.
Michael Mangino, 52, a 29-year veteran of the Aurora Police Department was arrested in March and eventually convicted in July of Sexual Exploitation of a Child, but while on trial he testified that “sexual deviance has been a fabric in my life since about 16 years old.” Mangino continued to testify, “then I get into the police culture, specifically the Aurora Colorado Police Department, which this is a widespread problem in that department that is ultimately ignored by administrators and supervisors largely because they are involved in similar sexual deviant activity.” Adding, “the only time it becomes a problem is when you get caught and the public gets a hold of it. Then they make it a huge issue.”
When confronted about Officer Mangino’s testimony in the ironic and typically pro-department defending news report, Police Chief Dan Oates quickly went on the defense stating, “now, you understand, the person saying this is a convicted felon, who was engaging in behavior as a predator, and disgraced our badge” and also claimed he’d “never had to deal with a cop that’s done something like this to a 15-year-old.”
Not only was this not the first time, however, that a complaint against Mangino was made alleging sexual misconduct, Chief Deputy District Attorney J.P. Moore said during sentencing that the March 2011 crime was not an isolated incident but rather a pattern of conduct. “Mangino took advantage of his position as a police officer, but the violation of trust was beyond the victim, the violation also extended to the Aurora Police Department,” he said.
The teen’s attorney, David Lane, helping the girl seek financial damages in the civil suit says the police department had ignored past complaints about Mangino’s behavior specifically. “The director of a women’s shelter went to the Aurora Police Department, filed a complaint, and they promptly threw that complaint into the trash,” Lane said. Soon thereafter Lane’s client became Mangino’s next victim. “If Aurora has a custom, practice or policy of tolerating this sort of behavior, then Aurora as a municipality is liable to my client as well,” Lane said.
According to the Courthouse News Service, the 15-year-old victim’s Guardian ad litem also stated that “The Aurora Police Department knew of defendant Mangino’s sexually deviant compulsions and were aware of the severe risks in permitting him to maintain a position of trust and authority over Aurora youth, but continued to employ defendant Mangino with the Aurora Police Department as a member of the Police Area Representatives (PAR) Unit, and DARE officer in the Aurora Public School District.”
These allegations claiming rampant sexual misconduct among members of law enforcement aren’t without warrant. According to The Journal of Law Enforcement’s August 2012 issue entitled, “Sexual Deviance Behind the Badge,” (PDF) in the rare case that one of the many instances of official sexual deviance actually finds a way through the tight cracks of what seems to be a very strict code of honor (or, dis-honer, as it were) among the brotherhood of police and makes its way into the bright spotlight of public scrutiny, even then those cases represent more than double the percentage of what you’d find in the average American population and continues to skyrocket as it becomes harder and harder to hide information from the public in general. Despite the many honest officers that remain in the nation’s policing agencies across the country, but continue to slowly dwindle in number.
Although it’s far more than likely this escalating scenario will go largely unchecked by either the mainstream media or the nation’s departments and their internal affairs for the foreseeable future, this particular situation simply represents yet another example of just how out-of-control the nation’s policing agencies have become, both locally and federally, and basically falls in line with the rapidly escalating, out-of-control police state in the United States.
Ofc. Mangino received a virtual slap on the wrist in this case, only being subjected to a 90 day jail term and a five-year probationary period, also giving credence to the obvious disparity between how heavy sentences handed down to law enforcement officials are, as opposed to the average individual, in addition to the noticeable favoritism between the media and individuals and agencies in local and federal law enforcement.
Mangino’s conviction comes on the heels of Arapahoe County, CO Sheriff, Patrick J Sullivan’s sex for drugs scandal in 2011 that witnessed the celebrated 19-year sheriff’s arrest and ultimate conviction, around the same time, after having been caught soliciting a male prostitute with methamphetamines and admitting to having sexually assaulted multiple under-aged boys, seen in this confession video. He was sentenced to only 38 days in the jail that was once named after him, two years probation and an $1,100 fine but was released after just 17 days for “good time served.” He recently violated probation.