Ex-cop accused of rape pleads not guilty - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Ex-cop accused of rape pleads not guilty

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A former San Diego police officer accused of befriending a prostitute, then raping her in a local park while on duty, pleaded not guilty Friday to four felony charges, including rape under the color of authority.

Daniel Edward Dana, 26, was ordered held on $300,000 bail.

Dana answered "Yes sir" when Superior Court Judge Joseph Brannigan told him he needed to turn over a firearm he had at his home. Dana told the judge that his service revolver had already been taken from him.

The officer, a three-year member of the San Diego Police Department, was taken into custody on Wednesday, one day after the city's top cop publicly apologized for a recent rash of misconduct cases within his department and pledged to put a stop to such behavior.

The accusations against Dana, which promptly cost him his job, involve alleged acts committed early Wednesday morning against a 34-year-old prostitute he recently had befriended.

The woman reported that she agreed to meet with Dana about 3 a.m. on his suggestion, sent via text message, according to SDPD officials. They went to Presidio Park, where the officer allegedly forced her to have sex with him by threatening to arrest her if she refused.

Afterward, the woman reported what allegedly had happened, and the officer was questioned and arrested. Department officials declined to say if Dana voluntarily resigned or was fired.

Dana describes himself on the SlideShare website as a married Washington State native and former Marine. In addition to rape under the color of authority, the defendant faces charges of oral copulation under the color of authority, false imprisonment and assault by an officer.

Dana faces 17 years and four months in prison if convicted, said Deputy District Attorney Annette Irving.

"The case is obviously a very serious one," the prosecutor said outside court. "The nature of the position that was involved that's been charged, as a peace officer, has us concerned."

A preliminary hearing was set for May 26.

On Tuesday, Chief William Lansdowne and his top command staff held a news conference to address what he called an "unprecedented number" of accusations of impropriety or criminal behavior on the part of SDPD officers over the last three months -- 10 cases total, six of which have resulted in arrests of officers.

"I want to personally apologize to every citizen of the city of San Diego, as this behavior is not expected, nor condoned by me or anyone in the San Diego Police Department," Lansdowne said.

Promising to do everything possible to regain citizens' confidence and "repair the damage done," the chief outlined a seven-step program with a goal of "greatly reducing future incidents" of wrongdoing.

The strategies include increased internal-affairs staffing, more ethics training, an around-the-clock complaint "hot line," a review of the department's discipline manual and use-of-force tactics, psychological "wellness" assessments during officers' annual evaluations and a series of

meetings with all employees.

The announcement of the plan came three days after SDPD Officer William Johnson, a 12-year department veteran, was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated in the South Bay.

Johnson was off-duty when he was taken into custody by Chula Vista police about midnight Saturday, following a collision that left another motorist with minor injuries. He is working a desk assignment pending the outcome of the case.

At least eight other San Diego police officers are under investigation or have been charged with crimes ranging from DUI, stalking and sexual battery over the past three months.

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