HIV-positive man accused of abducting, sexually assaulting California girl while posing as a cop

LOS ANGELES (KTLA) -- A 41-year-old man pleaded not guilty Monday to abducting and sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl, while pretending to be a police officer who was arresting her for jaywalking, KTLA reported.

Joseph Kenneth Cornett allegedly confronted the girl as she was walking home from school in Lancaster around 3 p.m. Friday, a news release from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said.

Cornett, who is HIV positive, allegedly took the girl to an abandoned mobile classroom near Lancaster Boulevard and 40th Street East and sexually assaulted her, prosecutors said.

The teenager then escaped and ran to a nearby church for help, the release stated.

Cornett attempted to drive away, but his vehicle became stuck in the sand.

He was eventually taken into custody after fighting with Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies and spitting at them, prosecutors said.

As KTLA reported, video of his arrest showed Cornett strapped to a gurney with his head covered by a mask as he was loaded into an ambulance.

Cornett was charged with nine felony counts, including kidnapping, attempted rape, sexual penetration by a foreign object, and attempted unprotected sexual activity by one who knows he is infected by HIV, the release stated.

He was also charged with seven misdemeanor counts of resisting a peace officer and one misdemeanor count of possessing a controlled substance, PCP.

Cornett was being held on $1.2 million bail.

If convicted as charged, he faced a possible maximum sentence of life in state prison.