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Sheriff’s deputy accused of rape, soliciting bribes while on duty

A Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputy accused of raping women and soliciting bribes while on duty is due in court Wednesday morning.

Jose Rigaberto Sanchez, 28, was arrested at his home Monday night without incident after a nearly three-year investigation.

Sanchez, a seven-year department veteran, was most recently assigned to patrol duties at the Palmdale Station.

He has been charged with 11 counts including sexual penetration under the color of authority, soliciting a bribe from alleged victims and rape under fear or distress, according to agency spokesman Steve Whitmore.

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“He was trying to coerce them into doing something,” Whitmore said of the alleged victims. “This all happened on duty.”

There were no immediate details on how many people Sanchez allegedly victimized or where the crimes took place.

The Sheriff’s Department launched an investigation in 2010 after receiving a tip from an informant, 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.

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Sanchez was being held Monday night in lieu of $1.4-million bail. He is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday morning downtown.

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Twitter: @LAJourno

robert.lopez@latimes.com


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