A 41-year-old man, who allegedly posed as a police officer in order to kidnap and sexually assault a teenage girl walking home from school in Lancaster, was arraigned in Lancaster Courthouse this week on felony charges. He is being held on $1.2 million bail.
Joseph Kenneth Cornett allegedly approached the 15-year-old victim on May 6 and told her that she was being arrested for jaywalking. He then reportedly took her to an abandoned mobile classroom near Lancaster Boulevard and 40th Street East and assaulted her. Cornett is charged with one felony count each of kidnapping to commit rape, kidnapping, false imprisonment by violence, attempted forcible rape, sexual penetration by a foreign object, committing a lewd act on a child, assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury, and assault with intent to commit a felony.
A ninth count alleges that Cornett knew he was HIV-positive when he tried to have unprotected sex with the teenage girl. Seven misdemeanor counts were also filed, including possession of PCP.
The teen escaped and sought help at a nearby church. When Cornett allegedly tried to drive away, his vehicle got stuck in the desert sand, and he was subsequently arrested after spitting at and fighting with officers, prosecutors said this week.
If convicted as charged, Cornett faces life in prison.