Jose Rigoberto Sanchez, 29, of Santa Clarita, a former Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy, pleaded no contest today to rape and bribery charges for a pair of incidents four years ago, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.
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Sanchez entered his plea to one count each of rape under color of authority and soliciting a bribe before Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Maral Injejikian.
Sanchez was ordered to return to Department 31 in the Foltz Criminal Justice Center on April 4, when he’s expected be sentenced to eight years and eight months in prison. He must also register as a sex offender.
Deputy District Attorney Rosa Alarcon of the Justice System Integrity Division said Sanchez was on duty at the Palmdale Station on Sept. 22, 2010, when he pulled over a 24-year-old woman who was driving with an outstanding warrant.
Sanchez offered not to arrest the woman if she had sex with him. He then drove away with the victim into the desert where he raped her, the prosecutor said.
Two nights later, he pulled over a 36-year-old woman for investigation of DUI and solicited a bribe in the form of sexual activity.
Sanchez, a seven-year veteran of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department was most recently assigned to patrol at the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station.
The six-month ICIB investigation into the 2010 incident began after investigators received a tip from an informant, according to a Sheriff’s Department statement.
The case was turned over to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office in January of 2011.
The case was investigated by the Sheriff’s Department’s Internal Criminal Investigations Bureau.
The initial charges included sexual penetration under the color of authority, rape under fear or duress and soliciting a bribe from alleged victims.
A no contest of plea is considered the same as a guilty plea, according to court officials.
Sanchez was being held in lieu on $1.4 million bail until his sentencing.
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Source: Santa Clarita News