INS Agent in Rape Case Is a Suspect in Other Attacks : Crime: Police say they will file additional charges in alleged abductions and assaults on illegal aliens.
An Immigration and Naturalization Service agent charged with abducting and raping a Latina is a suspect in several other rapes, according to authorities who asked Wednesday for other possible victims to come forward.
Los Angeles police said they will seek additional charges against James Edward Riley, 32, of Reseda as early as today.
“We have talked to several victims,” Lt. Dennis Dunn said. “We think there may be more.”
Riley, 32, was arrested at 4:30 a.m. Saturday at his Reseda apartment after a one-month investigation that began after a 24-year-old Sepulveda woman reported to police that he abducted and raped her. He pleaded innocent Monday to charges of kidnaping, rape and rape under color of law--meaning he used his position as a federal agent to commit the crime.
Dunn said that evidence gathered during Riley’s arrest led to the identification of several other women who, when contacted by police, acknowledged that they had been “arrested” by Riley and then allegedly taken to his apartment and raped.
Dunn said the incidents under investigation date back to September. He refused to disclose the number of victims police have contacted or to describe the evidence that led investigators to them.
Investigators have also contacted police agencies in Gardena, where Riley previously worked for the INS, and in Ventura County, where he had a traffic accident last month while driving a federal car, and have asked them to check for possible rape cases involving the INS agent.
Dunn said that in the incidents under investigation, Riley approached Latinas on the street while he was off duty but driving his federal car. Police said Riley, who is bilingual, showed his INS badge and, after determining that a woman had no green card or legal status for being in the United States, placed her under arrest.
“He used his badge,” Dunn said. “That’s how he got them to get in his car.”
Dunn said Riley took the Sepulveda woman to his apartment, where she was allegedly assaulted before being released.
On Wednesday, detectives were still completing investigations involving alleged victims located after Riley’s arrest, but Dunn said officials expect to ask the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office for additional charges against Riley today.
“There are others that are being investigated,” Assistant Head Deputy Dist. Atty. James A. Baker said. “There is a substantial possibility other charges will be filed.”
Riley remains in Los Angeles County Jail in lieu of $250,000 bail. INS spokesman Ron Rogers said Riley, who began work as an INS agent in 1987, requested and was granted a leave of absence after his arrest. Riley is the subject of an internal investigation by federal authorities, Rogers said. He declined further comment.
Police refused to divulge many details of the alleged abductions, saying that to do so might hamper the investigation.
The investigation was prompted April 12 when the Sepulveda woman made a rape report. Dunn said she has been the only alleged victim to voluntarily come forward to authorities, and at times during the investigation she was reluctant to fully cooperate because she feared deportation.
Dunn explained that there may be several other women who are afraid to come forward because of their status as illegal aliens. At a press conference Wednesday, he said that police investigators will not turn any illegal aliens who came forward as victims over to immigration officials.
Times staff writer Patricia Klein Lerner also contributed to this story.