ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A 17-year veteran of the NYPD has been charged with breaking into backyards on Long Island and exposing himself to children four different times, police said Monday.

NYPD Detective Robert Francis faces four counts of public lewdness, four counts of trespassing and three counts of endangering the welfare of a minor, all misdemeanors, according to Rockville Centre police. He was released on a desk appearance ticket.

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Francis, a 46-year-old married father, is a member of the 71st Precinct in Brooklyn.

“He is a New York City police detective, has been for about 17 years, and we notified his command who responded promptly and suspended him on the spot and took his weapons,” Rockville Centre Police Commissioner Charles Gennario said.

The NYPD confirmed that Francis has been suspended without pay.

Police said teenage girls in their Rockville Centre homes were the targets of a predatory flasher. The rash of incidents began in early February and continued into this month, police said.

There reports of a partially naked man allegedly trolling into residential yards at night and knocking on windows, police said. He would shine a flashlight into the eyes of the children and teens he spotted inside the homes, and then direct the flashlight onto his penis, authorities said.

Francis is accused of at least four obscene acts in Rockville Centre, but reportedly admitted to additional fondling incidents in other jurisdictions.

The community was turned upside down upon hearing of the arrest.

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“It’s disturbing,” said Rockville Centre parent Michael Shenker. “I have young children who live in the community; raised my family here. You hate to see something like this in your own backyard.”

Francis lives in Queens with his wife and children on a close-knit block where he was respected.

“Especially from a police officer. I didn’t know — this is a very, you know, folksy neighborhood,” said neighbor Alain Goldman. “I didn’t really know that this would go down and he would live in this area.”

Queens neighbors said they had heard all about the troubling ongoing lewd acts in Nassau County. Bu they never dreamed they would know the man arrested in the case.

The case culminated with a 911 call from a Rockville Centre homeowner Sunday reporting that a man was allegedly performing an obscene act in the family’s backyard, CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported.

“He gave our detective a statement that he was responsible for those incidents in Rockville Centre,” Gennario said. “He didn’t say about his motivation. He did say he had a lot going on in his life. He did show remorse.”

“If it is, in fact, what actually happened, then it truly is disgusting,” added Rockville Centre homeowner Stu Greeenwald, “but he’ll have his day in court and the truth will surely come out.”

At first, police thought a registered sex offender who had moved away from the area was responsible for the incidents – but then they recurred.

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Francis is due back in court in three weeks.