The NYPD police officer arrested last month for exposing himself and masturbating in front of four Long Island houses insists he's innocent. His attorney says that Detective Robert Francis was coerced by police officers into falsely confessing, "They played on his trusts and put him through a process that he didn’t think was aimed at him — and wound up making him a suspect."

Francis was arraigned yesterday on four counts of public lewdness, three counts of endangering the welfare of a child, four counts of criminal trespass and one count of trespass. Investigators believe Francis is behind a series of disturbing incidents in which a man crept into Rockville Centre backyards, shined a flashlight or knocked on a window, and started masturbating when someone in the home peered outside. In each of the incidents, girls between ages 14 and 17 witnessed the acts.

Peter Brill, Francis's attorney, told Newsday, "I think it’s without a doubt a false confession. You have a military veteran with over 15 years with the New York City Police Department, an upstanding citizen, someone who’s never had one issue in his life before and all of a sudden he’s confessing, according to the Rockville Centre Police Department, to this type of crime? It’s insane."

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Robert Francis (Rockville Centre Police)

Brill pointed out that some of the victims claimed the suspect was white and there was no police line-up. In speaking with the Post, he said, "Robert Francis is far from white. That would be an impossibility for someone to misidentify him as being white. Why not do any sort of identification procedure? Why no lineup?"

However, Rockville Centre Police Commissioner Charles Gennario told Newsday that Francis, who waived his Miranda rights, admitted to the crimes: "I can assure you that he was not coerced into giving us that confession."

Brill firmly maintains in his client's innocence: "What we have here is a small police department, for a mostly upper class community, with a series of disturbing reports of someone committing these acts int heir backyard, and they seized on Robert Francis and they made the facts fit their suspicion, as opposed to what they’re supposed to do, which is let their suspicion fit the facts."