Kenneth Nieves appeared in New London’s Part A court Tuesday on a scheduled “accept or reject” date for pending sexual assault charges.
Judge Patrick J. Clifford announced that the plea offer, which would have settled his case short of trial, was five years, suspended after one year in prison, followed by 10 years of probation. In exchange for the sentence, Nieves would have had to agree to plead guilty to the charge of risk of injury to a minor.
Nieves, 45, who politely answered Clifford’s questions about his decision, rejected the offer. He is charged with three counts each of second-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor. Police allege he began a four-year sexual relationship in 2003 with a girl who was 14 years old.
Defense attorney Charles Tiernan said Nieves maintains his innocence and does not agree with the state’s timeline of events.
“As far as he’s concerned, he didn’t violate the law,” Tiernan said. “That’s why he chose not to take this offer.”
The case was moved to the jury list for a possible future trial, and the offer was withdrawn.
Nieves was married at the time of his arrest. He resigned from the Norwich police department in 2011 after an internal investigation that uncovered allegations of misconduct, including claims he had sex with a woman in his police cruiser while on duty. Those allegations were not related to what later became a state police investigation into the alleged sexual assault of an underage girl.
Nieves told the girl, “You know you can never tell anyone about this. I would lose my job and go to jail,” according to the arrest warrant affidavit.
The girl said Nieves also took photos of her while she was nude or partially clothed.
Nieves’ resignation came on the eve of his termination by Norwich Police Chief Louis J. Fusaro.
He is free on bail.
(I personally could not agree more with the actions of this officer. I have no idea if he is guilty or not. If he is then he should pay the penalty as would anyone else. I do agree with the fact that he is taking it to trial. For one if a person is willing to go to trial, especially on an issue such as this, it begs the question as to what really is the truth. Further our justice system needs a serious wake up call and more people guilty or innocent should force the state to take it to trial. Our court systems that were once the envy of the world, our nothing more then money making machines and more often then not justice is never served. It is time that this changes for everyone's sake)