New Rochelle Sgt. David Rodriguez pleaded not guilty to forcible rape, agreed to an order of protection keeping him away from the teenager and posted $25,000 bail. If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to 25 years in prison.
Rodriguez did not speak after the arraignment, but his attorney Stephen Worth said the charge was false and the investigation was slipshod. He said the girl "has a number of motives to make up a false allegation," but he did not elaborate.
The sergeant's wife, Darlene Rodriguez, anchorwoman of WNBC-TV's "Today in New York," was in tears outside the courtroom before the arraignment. She left the courthouse dry-eyed with her husband and said, "I'm here to support my husband. I believe in him. I love him. He's innocent 100 percent."
Police Commissioner Patrick Carroll said the investigation was thorough.
"We took our time," he said. "We didn't jump to any conclusions."
Carroll had announced the rape allegation, without naming David Rodriguez, more than a month ago and suspended him with pay. Rodriguez, 36, of Croton-on-Hudson, was suspended without pay Wednesday.
"It hurts. It's a disruption" to arrest a member of his own department," the commissioner said. "It's a sad day."
The teen's 35-year-old boyfriend had been arrested on an assault charge after police went to their home Feb. 8. Rodriguez, a nine-year police veteran, was among the officers who went to the home later that day and arrested the man again, this time for violating an order of protection that had been issued that morning.
The girl alleged that early the next morning, Rodriguez, off-duty by that point, returned and attacked her.
Carroll said last month that the girl did not make any allegation until two days after the attack, when she visited the Westchester County district attorney's office to try to get charges dropped against the boyfriend. He said that made it difficult to gather physical evidence.
On Wednesday, no evidence was mentioned in court and Carroll said he could not comment on details of the investigation.