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D.A.: Deputy solicited sex from female motorist in front of witness

Crime, Law and JusticeJustice System

Two days after a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy allegedly kidnapped and raped a female motorist, he solicited sex from a second female driver in front of a witness, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Jose Rigaberto Sanchez, 28, is charged with 11 counts related to incidents in September 2010, when he allegedly tried to coerce female motorists into sex in exchange for not arresting them.

Sanchez faces up to life in prison if convicted on all the charges, which include kidnapping to commit a crime and rape under the color of authority.

Sanchez pulled over a woman in Palmdale while on duty on Sept. 22, 2010, and allegedly offered not to arrest her on an outstanding warrant in exchange for sex, prosecutors said. The seven-year veteran then allegedly raped and sodomized the woman.

Two nights later, he solicited a bribe in the form of sexual activity from a woman he pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence, said Jane Robison, a district attorney’s spokeswoman. Robison said the deputy solicited the bribe in front of another witness.

Sanchez was most recently assigned to patrol duties at the Palmdale Station and had previously worked in L.A. County jails.

The Sheriff's Department launched an investigation in 2010 after receiving a tip from an informant, spokesman Steve Whitmore said. Sanchez was relieved from duty with pay in September 2010 after the tip was received, and his pay was suspended after he was arrested at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Whitmore said.

Sanchez, who made a brief court appearance Wednesday, was ordered held in lieu of $1.45 million bail. He did not enter a plea and is scheduled back in court on Aug. 7. 

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