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Hartford police officer arrested after incident at Ballard’s Beach Resort on Block Island

A four-year veteran of the department, Justin Damone was arrested on sexual assault charges

Ballard's Beach Resort, which is owned by Steve Filippi, on Block Island on a cold summer day in mid-June 2023.Alexa Gagosz

NEW SHOREHAM, R.I. — A Hartford police officer has been arrested on sexual assault charges in an alleged incident that occurred on Saturday at Ballard’s Beach Club.

Justin K. Damone, 25, was off duty during the incident on Block Island, and Hartford’s police department has opened an internal affairs investigation, according to Chief Jason Thody.

Damone has been charged with first-degree sexual assault. The victim’s name was not released, but a court employee said she is 21. He was arraigned on Tuesday, and posted $25,000 bail.

In a statement to the Globe, Ballard’s owner Steven Filippi said a female visitor informed the resort’s security team that a male visitor had “inappropriately touched her while on our property.”

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“We implemented our robust security measures and our head of security immediately intervened and contacted Block Island Police,” said Filippi.

Over the winter, Ballard’s hired Timothy Lee as its new head of security, a retired police chief in Dartmouth, Mass., and former Providence police captain.

The resort “has zero tolerance for any behavior that could affect the safety or well-being of guests or staff,” said Filippi.

There was an alleged sexual assault at Ballard’s over July 4th weekend in 2022, which sparked investigations by the Rhode Island State Police and state Attorney General’s office, but it did not result in charges. The victim in the 2022 incident declined to file a police report or press charges.

Damone, a four-year veteran of the department, was suspended without pay pending both internal and criminal investigations.

“We will continue to cooperate fully with state and local law enforcement as they investigate this allegation,” said Filippi.

This story has been updated.


Alexa Gagosz can be reached at alexa.gagosz@globe.com. Follow her @alexagagosz and on Instagram @AlexaGagosz.