Former Norwich officer appears in court on sex assault charges

Norwich - A former Norwich police officer accused of sexually assaulting a minor appeared in Norwich Superior Court Thursday morning for the first time since his Dec. 6 arrest.

Kenneth Nieves, 45, of 14 Montgomery Lane, is charged with three counts of second-degree sexual assault and three counts of risk of injury to a minor. Nieves appeared without an attorney at his 10 a.m. arraignment.

Judge Hunchu Kwak transferred the case to Part A in New London, where more serious crimes are heard, for Jan. 9.

Nieves is out on $50,000 bond and as a condition of his release, Kwak ordered Nieves to have no contact with the alleged victim, even through text messages or a third party.

After his appearance, Nieves declined a request for comment.

Nieves joined the Norwich Police Department in 2002. He resigned on Sept. 30, shortly after he was placed on administrative leave. Police Chief Louis Fusaro said after Nieves' arrest that the department was "in the process of terminating" Nieves when he resigned.

Nieves turned himself in to Troop K in Colchester around 12:10 p.m. Dec. 6. He was processed and released that same day.

Fusaro said he could not go into details about the case but that his department began an investigation in early September into "improper activity" by Nieves. At that point, Fusaro said, the activity had not been reported as illegal.

Once the department realized a crime may have been committed, it immediately contacted the state's attorney and state police, he said.

"I can tell you that I'm outraged, as are my officers, by the behavior," Fusaro said. "It was totally unacceptable behavior."

On Sept. 20, just a week before being placed on leave, police said Nieves, then a member of the department's Crisis Intervention Team, and another officer, Damian Martin, persuaded a despondent person to step down from the roof of the Water Street Parking Garage and seek medical attention.

In 2002, upon completion of officer training at the Connecticut Police Academy, Nieves was presented with an award recognizing his academic achievement, physical fitness and firearms proficiency.

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