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Shiprock man found guilty of impersonating officer, sex assault

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A Shiprock man was convicted by a San Juan County jury Wednesday of impersonating a police officer and sexually assaulting a Texas woman who was passing through the county in October 2011, The Daily Times reported.

Eric Kenneth, 31, was found guilty of kidnapping, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, criminal sexual contact with a deadly weapon and impersonating a police officer, The Daily Times said.

According to San Juan County sheriff’s Lt. Dave Hamlin, Kenneth pulled the woman over by flashing his truck’s headlights, leading her to believe he was a police officer, the paper reported.

Investigators said Kenneth told the woman he was an officer and had stopped to check whether she was drinking and driving, and when the woman stepped out of her vehicle, Kenneth searched her, pulled out a knife and put it to her throat, according to The Daily Times.

Police said Kenneth was going to rape the woman but she was able to talk him into committing a lesser sex act, The Daily Times said.

Hamlin said in a prepared statement that the woman kept her composure throughout the incident, even telling Kenneth she wanted to take his picture, which she did, giving authorities a way to identify the suspect and arrest him.

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