Man infected with HIV allegedly posed as officer and assaulted girl

A man is accused of posing as a police officer and sexually assaulting a teenage girl as she walked home from school, prosecutors said.

Joseph Kenneth Cornett, 41, is facing multiple assault, sex and kidnapping charges, including attempting unprotected sexual activity while knowingly infected with HIV, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney's  office.


He pleaded not guilty Monday to the charges stemming from the May 6 attack. He is being held on $1.2-million bail.

Cornett is accused of posing as an officer when he approached the 15-year-old girl and told her he was arresting her for allegedly jaywalking, according to prosecutor Jon Hatami.

He took the girl to an abandoned mobile classroom in Lancaster and sexually assaulted her, Hatami said.

She managed to escape and get help from parishioners at a nearby church.

Cornett tried to drive away before authorities arrived, but his vehicle was stuck in the desert sand, authorities said.

He fought with Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies and spat on them during a confrontation, deputies said.

He has also been charged with resisting arrest. According to the district attorney's office, he was also in possession of PCP.

If convicted of all charges, Cornett faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

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