Lawrence police officer accused of raping boy he met on social media

LAWRENCE, Mass. — A Lawrence police officer has been arrested for aggravated rape of a child, according to the Essex District Attorney's Office.

On Monday, 49-year-old Carlos Vieira of Lawrence was arrested in Haverhill after a month-long investigation.

Vieira is charged with two counts of aggravated rape of a child and two counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14.

In a statement Monday, Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera said he's "angry" and "sickened" by the charges.

"I am angry, sickened, dismayed, saddened by the allegations and charges. We have worked very hard to improve and uplift the professionalism of the Lawrence Police Department," Rivera said. "We have fired and forced out many officers who did not meet and could not stand up to the code of conduct and the high level of professionalism that my office, the chief of police and the men and women and leadership of the Police Unions have worked to establish."

"If found to be true we will move swiftly to remove the officer involved," Rivera said. "This is a travesty."

Vieira, who has been a Lawrence police officer since November 1999, was placed on administrative leave "immediately after the Department was notified of his arrest by the Massachusetts State Police," Lawrence Police Chief Roy Vasque said in a statement.

"This is an ongoing investigation, but the allegations against Officer Vieira are extremely troubling, and we take them very seriously," Vasque said.

Authorities began investigating in January when the victim's mother contacted the DA reporting that her 13-year-old son allegedly met Vieira using a social media app. She says Vieira allegedly engaged in sexual activity with him in the summer of 2018.

The investigation revealed the boy and Vieria allegedly met and talked via the app Gindr. They met at Mt. Vernon Park and allegedly engaged in sexual acts on one occasion. When the boy and his family were evacuated following the Merrimack Valley gas explosions, he recognized Vieria as he was directing traffic.

Vieira was arraigned on Tuesday in Lawrence District Court where a judge ordered him held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing on March 1.