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State worker, subject of Target 12 probe, arrested in child porn case

Target 12

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A state employee, who was previously the subject of a Target 12 undercover investigation, has been placed on administrative leave after being arrested in a child porn case.

Dennis Lopes, 64, of Scituate, was arrested by a member of the state police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force on Friday and charged with one count each of electronically disseminating inducement material to a minor, indecent solicitation of a child he believed to be 14 years-old, and soliciting a child to “produce and transfer child pornography.”

A police report shows Lopes was arrested in Warwick as a “result of an investigation involving Lopes soliciting a person whom he believed to be under the age 14 for sexual contact.”

He was arraigned before a Justice of the Peace and released on $10,000 personal recognizance. Lopes is scheduled to be back in court in December for a bail review.

Brenna McCabe, a spokesperson for the R.I. Department of Administration confirmed Lopes was placed on administrative leave with pay from his state job in the wake of the charges.

Lopes worked in the Weatherization Assistance Program for the Department of Human Services. His base salary totals $60,000 per year.

RI State Police booking photo of Dennis Lopes

In 2013, Target 12 reported Lopes was tasked with inspecting homes of low-income families that were weatherized to reduce energy costs. The state’s Weatherization Assistance Program is taxpayer and ratepayer funded.

An undercover investigation found Lopes would on occasion park his state vehicle behind his home then move it into the driveway at 3:30 p.m., which was the end of his shift.

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2013 Target 12 Investigation

Lopes was required to fill out daily logs that listed where he was working and when. Over the course of a month-long investigation, the records show 17 discrepancies where Lopes claimed he was throughout the state working, which Target 12 revealed through undercover video.

McCabe said Lopes’ job does bring him inside people’s homes to conduct inspections but, “it is required that a homeowner or adult over the age of 18 must be present for inspections of work in progress and upon completion of the work.”

McCabe declined to comment if the state took action based on Target 12’s findings in 2013, saying it is a personnel matter.

Tim White (twhite@wpri.com) is the Target 12 investigative reporter and host of Newsmakers for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Providence

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