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Police officer accused of abusing girlfriend

Officer Josh Luis of the Dartmouth Police Department has been put on paid administrative leave after he was accused of intimidating and abusing his girlfriend. (WJAR/Police photo)

A Dartmouth police officer has been put on paid administrative leave after he was accused of intimidating and abusing his girlfriend.

Court records reveals that the officer is Josh Luis.

Chief Robert Szala of the Dartmouth Police Department didn't name Luis directly when he spoke to NBC 10 News on Tuesday, but he said the department is taking the claims very seriously.

"This past Friday on the 16th, a young lady came into my station and made some allegations against one of my officers,” Szala told NBC 10. “As a result of those allegations, I immediately called the officer into the station and we placed him on paid administrative leave."

Luis was singled out as an exemplary officer on the Dartmouth Police Facebook page.

But on Monday, a judge approved a restraining order against him.

According to court documents, the victim claims she was physically and verbally abused on at least 10 separate occasions during the past year.

The victim claims that during one incident, Luis "threatened to rape her while tearing her clothes off," but stopped.

On another occasion, she said Luis pointed his gun at her before threatening to kill himself if she left him.

The woman also claims Luis took a phone from her several times.

Domestic violence advocates note that his actions are consistent with what they see in many other cases.

“The pattern is overall about power and control and that involves, in fact, controlling how people communicate,” said Pamela MacLeod Lima, who is the executive director of Women's Center in New Bedford.

Court papers also indicate that the victim’s father told Dartmouth's deputy chief about the alleged abuse and at one point the deputy chief spoke with the victim and tried to convince her make a formal statement.

While NBC 10 tried to speak with Luis no one answered the door when a reporter visited his home.

“No one is above the law and I take all allegations and the statements she made Friday very seriously,” Szala said. “We're going to investigate. He's a very competent, very good officer and it's just an unfortunate situation we're all in."

The alleged abuse happened between three different towns so Dartmouth authorities said they are working with other agencies right now.

Depending on the results of the investigation, Szala said Luis could lose his job entirely.

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