WARREN, R.I. (WPRI) — A Tiverton police officer is now suspended without pay after Warren police charged him with second-degree child abuse.
Police said Jacob Rapoza, 35, was arrested on Thursday after police investigated a report of abuse against an underage boy who had been brought to Hasbro Children’s Hospital with injuries.
Online court records show the charge stemmed from an incident on Aug 9.
Following the investigation, police said a warrant was issued for Rapoza’s arrest. He turned himself in to Warren police and was held as a bail violator following his arraignment.
Since the charge is a felony, no plea was entered in court.
Warren Police Lt. Christopher Perreault described Rapoza in a news release as an “off-duty member of the Tiverton Police Department.”
Rapoza is separately facing simple assault and disorderly conduct charges, both of which are misdemeanors. He was placed on paid suspension as a result.
The former school resource officer was accused of repeatedly using his department-issued TASER on Tiverton school grounds last year. Court records show Rapoza pleaded not guilty to those charges as well.
According to an affidavit tied to those allegations, Tiverton police said they received a complaint about Rapoza’s conduct on Dec. 18. Investigators said the school resource officer was attending an assembly at Tiverton High School in September for a presentation titled “Signs of suicide.”
Police said Rapoza pointed his TASER at the ground and activated it, causing “loud sparks” just as the assembly was about to start.
One student said she was seated about 10 feet away and was “startled and afraid” by the officer’s alleged actions.
On a second occasion about a month later, police said Rapoza deployed his TASER inappropriately while attending a school-sponsored football game. According to the report, a high school guidance counselor told police she saw Rapoza walk toward her, pull out the device, point it “directly at her” and activate it, causing it to spark.
The counselor said the TASER was “within feet” of her body, according to police.
In January, Tiverton Public Schools announced in a social media post that its school resource officer was no longer employed by the district.
Tiverton Police Chief Patrick Jones told Target 12 on Thursday that as a result of the new felony charge, Rapoza “will be suspended without pay effective immediately.” He had been on paid suspension since late December.
“This will remain in effect until the new felony charge is adjudicated,” Jones said. “Pursuant to the Rhode Island Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights, the Town is not able to provide any further details on this matter at this time.”