Prostitutes feared San Bernardino cop, prosecutors say
The two prostitutes listed in the indictment of a former San Bernardino police officer for alleged sex abuse told investigators they endured forced sex acts with the man out of fear of retaliation.
Federal offiicals on Thursday announced that the ex-officer, Jose Jesus Perez, had been arrested and charged with forcing two prostitutes to have sex with him while he was apparently on duty.
Perez, 46, was indicted on four civil rights offenses that involved aggravated sexual abuse “while acting under the color of law,” court records show. He was arrested in Denton, Texas.
The two prostitutes, whose identities were not released, told investigators that they “engaged in the sex acts demanded by Perez only because they feared for their well-being because he was a police officer,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Prosecutors allege that he demanded that one prostitute perform oral sex on him behind a convenience store in April 2011. When she told him, “maybe next time,” he grabbed her by the arm and pulled her toward him, according to an affidavit by FBI Agent Heng K. Liv filed in court.
“No. We are going to do it now,” Perez allegedly said.
Police department GPS records showed that Perez’s patrol car was in the location where and when the woman alleged the attack occurred, according to court documents.
Perez assaulted the second woman in 2011 on three occasions in August and September, prosecutors allege. The woman told investigators that she “feared that if she refused Perez’s sexual advances he could and would make her life difficult,” according to Liv’s affidavit.
The agent added that the woman told detectives that “prostitutes have a common understanding that they cannot tell a police officer ‘no’ if he requests sex.”
In an interview with San Bernardino police detectives, Perez admitted to having sex with the second woman but maintained that the sex was consensual, according to Liv’s affidavit. He denied having sexual contact with any other prostitutes.
Perez and the two alleged victims told investigators he had never paid for the sex acts, nor had he offered to pay for them.
Perez, who was once a Los Angeles police officer, was fired from the San Bernardino Police Department in December after an internal investigation into the allegations.
If convicted, Perez faces a maximum sentence of life in federal prison, according to Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Los Angeles.
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