Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department officials arrested a Valencia man who was a deputy at the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station, Sheriff Spokesman Steve Whitmore said Tuesday.
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Jose Rigaberto Sanchez, 28, of Valencia, was arrested and booked at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station Monday night and being held on $1.4 million bail for 11 felony charges.
The charges included sexual penetration under the color of authority, rape under fear or duress and soliciting a bribe from alleged victims.
“The sheriff takes it very seriously,” Whitmore said. “We were the ones who instigated the investigation. We pursued it aggressively because it was a heinous act.”
Sanchez was on duty when the alleged crimes occurred, Whitmore said.
After an extensive investigation by the District Attorney’s Justice System Integrity Division, Sanchez was charged with soliciting a bribe from a female driver he pulled over in Palmdale while on duty on Sept. 22, 2010. Sanchez allegedly offered not to arrest her on an outstanding warrant in exchange for sex.
Two nights later, he pulled over another female on suspicion of DUI and allegedly solicited a bribe in the form of sexual activity.
Sanchez is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday at the Foltz Criminal Justice Center.
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.
“We turned it over to the (District Attorney’s Office), and that investigation culminated in his arrest last night,” he said, “and we will cooperate under the fullest extent of the law, and this is by no means over.”
Sanchez was relieved of duty with pay after the alleged incident in 2010, and was relieved of duty without pay today.
The Sheriff’s Department spokesman did not have any additional details about the crime, Whitmore said.
Sanchez was taken into custody at his home Monday at around 5:30 p.m. without incident, and is being held in lieu of $1.4 million bail at Men’s Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles.
The next court date for Sanchez is scheduled for Wednesday at Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center.
The case is being prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Rosa Alarcon with the Justice System Integrity Division.
There is no additional information available at this time.
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Source: Santa Clarita News