LOCAL L.A. Now

Deputy's rape victim relieved at conviction, expected prison sentence

A woman who was pulled over by a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy, forced into the back seat of his patrol car and driven into the desert, only to be raped and then followed home, is relieved that he will be spending time behind bars, her attorney said.

Jose Rigaberto Sanchez, 29, pleaded no contest Thursday to rape under color of authority and to soliciting a bribe and is expected to be sentenced to eight years and eight months in prison.

Sanchez pulled over a 24-year-old woman in Palmdale while on duty Sept. 22, 2010. He offered not to arrest her on an outstanding warrant in exchange for sex, prosecutors said.

John C. Taylor, the victim's attorney, said the deputy then forced the woman into the patrol car's back seat. After Sanchez began driving, "all of a sudden she realizes they're going off the roadway and into the desert and something bad was going to happen to her," Taylor said.

After the attack, Taylor said the deputy dropped her back off at her car, then followed her home. The woman is suing the county in connection with the incident. 

Two nights later, Sanchez pulled over another woman on suspicion of drunk driving.

He solicited a bribe in the form of sexual activity from the 36-year-old, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

Taylor said his client was relieved to hear that Sanchez "can no longer victimize and attack other women."

Sanchez was most recently assigned to patrol duties at the Palmdale Station and had previously worked in the county's jails. He resigned in September, according to a department spokeswoman.

Sanchez initially faced about a dozen charges and could have been sentenced to life in prison if convicted.

Along with the expected prison sentence, he will have to register as a sex offender, prosecutors said.

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robert.faturechi@latimes.com

Twitter: @RobertFaturechi

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