A former DARE police officer was sentenced to three years in prison Thursday after pleading guilty to sexual exploitation of a child.
Officer Michael Mangino, 51, was a 29-year veteran of the Aurora Police Department before he resigned in September amid accusations that he forced a 15-year-old runaway to take sexually explicit photos of herself with his cell phone camera.
Back in March, Mangino was arrested after fellow police officers confiscated his cell phone and found not just nude photos of the runaway teen, but other sexually explicit photos and video of Mangino engaging in sexual acts with various women, possibly while on duty.
Mangino had worked as a DARE officer, taught in six local elementary schools, and had contact with many children over the years. Although no other inappropriate behavior involving children has surfaced since his arrest, the news had both parents and Mangino’s students in shock, one parent told Fox31 at the time of the charges:
Oh my God, my wife called me and told me that it had happened and even our kids couldn’t believe it ‘cause they looked up to him and they basically said, ‘that was my hero.’
According to the arrest affidavit one of the videos confiscated from Mangino's phone focused on a young girl from a DARE class bending over a table.
Aurora Police Chief Daniel J. Oates called Mangino "perverse" and that he was "relieved" Mangino was no longer a police officer in his agency.
“His violation of trust caused great harm to our community, making it harder for the most vulnerable victims to trust the police. He has now gotten the jail time and sexual offender status he deserves,” Oates said.