On Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016, it was released by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office that two former Los Angeles County police officers, James Nicholas and Luis Valenzuela, have officially been charged with sexual assault. Nicholas and Valenzuela were partners in the Hollywood Division at the time of the assaults. Case number BA44092 was filed Tuesday.
The former police officers have been charged with multiple counts of sexual assault, which included rape under color of authority, forcible rape, oral copulation by force, and oral copulation under color of authority. Additionally, Valenzuela has been charged with one count of assault with a firearm. One of the victims claimed that he pointed a gun at her.
Four women have come forward with accusations of repeated sexual assault by these two former officers. These assaults often occurred while the officers were on duty, but not always, as reported by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
According to prosecutors, after the two officers became partners in December 2008, through March 2011, they allegedly started sexually assaulting women in various areas, including the police cruiser. At different times, all four women had been arrested for narcotics by the officers who sexually assaulted them. When theses assaults occurred, the women were 19, 24, 25, and 35 years old.
Nicholas and Valenzuela will be arraigned on Thursday, in Department 30, at the Foltz Criminal Justice Center. Prosecutors are planning to request bail be set for Nicholas, at $3.83 million and $3.76 million Valenzuela.
Stephanie Sparagna and Ann Marie Wise, Deputy District Attorneys in the Justice System Integrity Division, will be the prosecutors in this case. If the former officers are convicted of the multiple counts of sexual assault, they could each be considered for life sentences in a state prison.
This case is still under investigation. The Public Slate will report on any updates as they are made available.
By Jeanette Smith
Los Angeles District Attorneys Office: February 17, 2016: Two LAPD Officers Charged With Sexually Assaulting Women While on Duty
Image Courtesy of Michael Coghlan’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License