According To DA 2 LAPD Officers Charged With Rape & Sexually Assaulting Women While on Duty

AP: Two LAPD officers accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting four women while on duty between 2008 to 2011 were charged Wednesday, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

James Nichols, 44, and Luis Valenzuela, 43, were charged with multiple counts each of sexual assault, including forcible rape, rape under color of authority, oral copulation under color of authority and oral copulation by force, a DA news release stated.

Valenzuela was also accused of pointing a gun at one of the victims, and faces an additional charge of assault with a firearm.

The sexual assaults occurred between December 2008 to March 2011, while the men worked as partners for the department’s Hollywood division, according to the DA.

The victims, who were 19, 24, 25 and 34 at the time, were typically assaulted while the officers were on duty, the DA stated.

Allegations first came to light in January 2010 when one of the four victims told a supervisor the officers stopped her more than a year earlier, and threatened to take her to jail if she did not perform sexual acts, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Another victim settled a $575,000 lawsuit against the city in 2014, saying Nichols and Valenzuela, who were working as narcotics detectives at the time, had arrested her in 2010, then offered to help her through the trial if she acted as an informant and had sex with them, the Times reported.

“Their power over her was abundantly clear from the get go,” the woman’s attorney Dennis Chang said at the time.

All four women had been arrested at various times by the officers for narcotics-related offenses, according to the DA.

Valenzuela was an 18-year veteran of the LAPD, and Nichols was a 15-year veteran, the LAPD said in a statement Wednesday.

Both officers were previously released from duty, according to the LAPD, but it was not clear when that occurred.

“I will say again, any officer that abuses the public’s trust is not welcome in the LAPD and we will continue vigorously investigating officers accused of alleged crimes and cooperate fully with the District Attorney’s office,” LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said Wednesday.

Nichols and Valenzuela were scheduled to be arraigned Thursday, at which time prosecutors are expected to ask that bail be set at $3.83 million for Nichols and $3.76 million for Valenzuela, according to the DA.

If convicted, both men face up to life in state prison.

The LAPD did not immediately release a statement about the case Wednesday.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*