Former Rindge officer’s plea hearing postponed

A former part-time Rindge police officer was slated to plead guilty to sexual assault charges at the Cheshire County Superior Court Friday, but his hearing was cancelled due to poor weather conditions brought in by the weekend’s Nor’easter.

A new date for the hearing has not yet been set.

John Vargas-Cifrino, 35, of Harrisville filed a notice of intent with the court on Jan. 17 to plead guilty to two counts of misdemeanor sexual assault of a girl he knew between the ages of 13 and 16, according to court documents. As a part of a plea deal, state prosecutors agreed to drop the felony sex charge against Vargas-Cifrino.

“I am taking responsibility for my actions,” Vargas-Cifrino said in a statement read Wednesday to the Ledger-Transcript by his attorney, Adam Cook of Cook Law Of­fices in Peterborough. “I do not want my behavior to tarnish the honor of law enforcement and the key roles that officers serve in the schools. I hope all will see that this is my mistake alone.”

Vargas-Cifrino worked for the Rindge Police Department for 11 years prior to resigning in August 2012, after an investigation into the sexual assault allegations began.

He also worked as a full-time paraprofessional at ConVal High School assisting teachers with children who have behavioral challenges. He resigned on Aug. 15, 2012, just a few days after the school placed him on unpaid leave.

— by Alyssa Dandrea

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