GARFIELD HEIGHTS – A 55-year-old former Cleveland patrolman entered not guilty pleas Thursday in Garfield Heights Municipal Court to two felony charges, unlawful sexual conduct with a minor and pandering obscenity to a minor.
Bond for Mario Lozada was set at one million dollars.
He waived his right to a preliminary hearing and is due back in court next week.
Lozada reported to Garfield Heights police prior to the hearing to be booked on the charges.
He was first arrested by Garfield Heights police in November after he was found to be in a vehicle with a 15-year-old girl and a gun. He was a Cleveland patrol officer at that time.
Officials say he retired a short time after his November arrest.
A police report from November states, Lozada was pulled over on a traffic violation after an officer saw the dark-colored SUV he was driving go through Jack C. Donovan Park, which closes at dark. The vehicle was stopped a short time later for a traffic violation.
When Garfield police pulled over the vehicle, the officer noticed a firearm in the back-seat of the SUV and ordered both parties to keep their hands visible.
The 15-year-old first told police that Lozada was her step-father, who had been in a relationship with her mother for three years. Lozada also told officers he met the girl because he had been in a relationship with her mother. However, the girl’s mother was called to the scene and said she did not know him and never met him.
Garfield officers found his Cleveland police uniform shirt and badge in the rear of the vehicle.
The report further states, that when Lozada was asked why he didn’t identify himself as an officer, Lozada said he “did not want to identify himself while officers had body-worn cameras on, and was not that kind of a guy.”
Cleveland police say Lozada has been on the force for 26 years.