A Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy was convicted Thursday of rape and bribery, stemming from two traffic stops, including one in which he pulled a woman over, then raped her in the desert, prosecutors said.
Jose Rigaberto Sanchez, 29, pleaded no contest to rape under color of authority and 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, and allegedly offered not to arrest her on an outstanding warrant in exchange for sex, prosecutors said. The seven-year veteran then allegedly drove away with the woman, before sodomizing her in the desert.
Two nights later, he solicited a bribe in the form of sexual activity from a 36-year-old woman he pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.
Sanchez was most recently assigned to patrol duties at the Palmdale Station and had previously worked in the county's jails.
The Sheriff's Department launched an investigation in 2010 after receiving a tip from an informant, a department spokesman said. Sanchez was relieved of duty with pay in September 2010 after the tip was received, and his pay was suspended after he was arrested in July.
Sheriff’s officials did not immediately provide his current status, but felony convictions generally result in law enforcement officials getting fired.
[Updated 2:15 p.m. PST: Sanchez resigned in September, according to a sheriff’s spokeswoman.]
Sanchez initially faced about a dozen charges and could have been sentenced to life in prison if convicted.
Along with the prison sentence, he will have to register as a sex offender, prosecutors said.