STOW, Mass. (AP) — A former Massachusetts police chief pleaded not guilty Friday to a charge of enticing a child younger than 16 after authorities say he tried to meet with a young boy for sex.

Ralph Marino, the 63-year-old former police chief in Stowe, was also ordered by a judge during his arraignment by videoconference to have no contact with minors. He’s due back in Leominster District Court in September.

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Authorities say Marino exchanged a series of explicit messages with a person he believed to be a 14-year-old boy on a social media app and then arranged to meet with the person to engage in sexual acts in April.

Former Stow Police Chief Ralph “Rusty” Marino at his arraignment, June 19, 2020. (WBZ-TV)

Marino was instead confronted by an adult male and fled in a black SUV with Massachusetts license plates. A video of the encounter was posted on the YouTube channel “Predator Poachers Massachusetts.”

Police reviewing the video determined that the SUV was registered to the Stow Police Department and that the man recorded in the encounter was Marino, the department said.

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Prosecutors say Marino admitted to investigators he’d set up the encounter, traveled to Leominster in his police cruiser, and deleted his phone messages, call logs, and social media apps afterward.

Marino, a Lancaster resident appointed chief last September, resigned on April 22.

The town police department has said it is “deeply disturbed, shocked and disgusted” by the alleged actions.

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