DARTMOUTH — A well-known police officer in Dartmouth has been arrested on child rape charges.

Officer Shawn Souza, 37, of Dartmouth, was arrested Thursday by Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Bristol County District Attorney's Office following an investigation.

Souza was arrested on charges of rape of a child by force, rape of a child - aggravated by age difference and two counts of indecent assault and battery on a person under 14 years old by a mandated reporter. The alleged incidents took place in Dartmouth.

Gregg Miliote, spokesman for the Bristol County District Attorney's Office, tells WBSM News there are two alleged victims in the case.

The Dartmouth Police Department hired Souza in 2008 at the rank of patrol officer.

Souza was arraigned in New Bedford District Court on Friday and was ordered held without bail pending the results of a dangerousness hearing which has been scheduled for Monday morning.

Kevin Reddington, Souza's attorney, has not returned a request for a comment on the charges against his client.

The investigation began after Dartmouth Police officials received a report by the Department of Children and Families. The Bristol County Distrtict Attorney's Special Victims Unit investigated the claims.

Details of the investigation have been impounded by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as to protect the identity of the alleged victims.

Dartmouth Police Chief Brian Levesque confirmed this morning that a police officer with the Dartmouth Police Department "was placed on paid administrative leave pending further developments associated with the District Attorney’s investigation. "

"The Dartmouth Police Department has been informed that the allegations against Souza did not occur when he was on-duty," said Dartmouth Police Department spokesman Detective Kyle Costa in a written release.

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