Tag Archives: sexual assault

Two LAPD Officers Arrested on Multiple Sexual Assault Charges

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office issued a press release Wednesday announcing that two veteran Los Angeles Police Department officers are facing multiple charges after being accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting four women, often while on police duty, over a 3-year period.

According to the press release, LAPD Officers James Nichols, 44, and Luis Valenzuela, 43, were arrested by detectives Wednesday morning.

The press release stated:

“Beginning in December 2008, after they became partners, and continuing through March 2011, the two men allegedly began sexually assaulting women at various locations, including in their police vehicle, prosecutors said. All four women were arrested at various times by the officers during narcotics-related offenses.

At the time the alleged assaults occurred, the victims were 19, 24, 25 and 34 years of age. Most, but not all, of the alleged sexual assaults occurred while the officers were on duty.

Nichols and Valenzuela are charged with multiple counts each of sexual assaults, including forcible rape, rape under color of authority, oral copulation under color of authority and oral copulation by force.

In addition, Valenzuela is charged with one count of assault with a firearm for allegedly pointing a gun at one of the victims. The complaint alleges multiple victim allegations and principal armed as to each defendant.

If convicted, Nichols and Valenzuela each face up to life in state prison.”

Bail for both Nichols and Valenzuela have been set at $3 million each, according to CBS Los Angeles.

The arrest of the officers follows an investigative report made three years ago by the Los Angeles Times. In January 2013, the Los Angeles Times reported that Nichols and Valenzuela were under investigation for sexual assault against four women. The officers, who were working as partners as narcotics detectives, allegedly knew the women from making previous arrests.

“The pair repeatedly used the threat of jail to get women into their car and drove them to secluded areas where one of the officers demanded sex while the other kept watch, the warrant alleges,” the Los Angeles Times reported. The first accusation occurred in 2010 when a woman contacted authorities about Nichols and Valenzuela allegedly threatening her with prison time if she refused to comply with their demands.

The Los Angeles Times noted in their 2013 report that investigators “identified four women who encountered the pair and made similar independent accusations against them.” 

At a news conference Wednesday, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said that “These two officers have disgraced themselves. They disgraced this badge. They disgraced their oath of office,” and he also said Nichols and Valenzuela “preyed on folks that are sometimes reluctant witnesses, reluctant victims.” 

Nichols and Valenzuela are scheduled to appear in court for arraignment on Thursday.

High School Protest Erupts After Officials Tell Students Not to Discuss Sex Assault Cases

Students at Plum High School in Pittsburgh, PA organized a protest this morning in response to the way in which school officials and local police have been dealing with an ongoing sexual assault scandal that plagues the school. According to The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, around two dozen students launched a demonstration in front of the school while others wore tape over their mouths to protest comments made by police and school officials at an assembly last Friday. As the above-embedded footage by WPXI-TV notes, students were told at the assembly that they could face criminal charges if they discuss on social media an ongoing investigation into institutional sexual assault allegations that had been raised against two of the school’s teachers, Jason Cooper and Joseph Ruggieri. The Patriot-News pointed out the fact that Ruggieri also serves as vice president of the local teacher’s union. The assembly took place under 24 hours after Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala, Jr. asked victims at the school to come forward.

14-year-old freshman Amber Stawecki told The Pittsburgh Tribune Review, “It’s wrong for the school to take away our freedom of speech. We know what the First Amendment is. In some ways I still feel like they are trying to shut us up. I can tell they know more. It looks like a cover-up.”

Another student, 15-year-old freshman Cody Stockman referred to the comments at the assembly as “scare tactics” and said, “The fact that the chief of police was there is ridiculous. The police department lost its credibility.”

Plum Police Chief Jeffrey Armstrong said that, by speaking at the assembly, he was trying to prevent students from harassing victims of the sexual assaults, not interfere with free speech. “The intent of the assembly was not to tell kids not to use social media, but to be careful about the content and context of social media. We wanted to get out in front of this. The witnesses and the victims to an outpouring of hate and other comments directed to them.”

The District Attorney’s office issued a statement on the assembly, which said, “It would not be prudent for us to comment on what was said in the assembly until we have a chance to speak with Chief Armstrong in order to determine what he was trying to accomplish with his remarks. Having said that, we have no indication at this point in the investigation that either the student victims or student witnesses have been on the receiving end of threatening or harassing communications from other students.” However, another teacher at the school, Drew Zoldak, was charged last Wednesday with attempting to intimidate one of the other teacher’s alleged victims.

According to CBS Pittsburgh, Plum Borough School District Superintendent Timothy Glasspool said in a statement, “It is the position of the Plum Borough School District that the District will not take actions that infringe upon the First Amendment rights of its students or staff with respect to their use of social media. The District will not prevent or inhibit any individuals from engaging in constitutionally protected speech. The comments made at the assembly were not intended to infringe upon any First Amendment rights. It is not the District’s intent to prosecute or discipline any students for exercising those rights to the extent they are protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution. Be assured that the intent of the assembly was to provide protection to all of our students. We would again urge that all individuals refrain from engaging in any irresponsible, harassing and/or intimidating communications with respect to the ongoing investigations.”

Colleges forcing fraternities to accept women into their ranks in the name of “gender equality”

Middletown, Conn., September 25, 2014 –  This week, Wesleyan University made history by mandating that its two residential fraternities admit women into their ranks on an equal basis. Delta Kappa Epsilon, one of the two fraternities affected by this new policy at the University, has openly criticized this decision.

On Monday, the university sent a letter to the entire student community stating, “We have decided that residential fraternities must become fully co-educational over the next three years. This change is something that Wesleyan and the fraternities have been contemplating for many years, and now the time has come.”

Reports of sexual assault and gang rape on college campuses in America have steadily increased in recent years, with one in five women statistically becoming a victim of sexual aggression during their college years. Across the country, many fraternity members have been accused of sexual assault and violence against women, while on-campus fraternity houses have frequently been named as the scene of the crime in many rape charges.

Wesleyan University’s new policy follows several lawsuits and rape allegations against fraternity members at the school. A student petition calling for the new measures earlier this summer garnered hundreds of student signatures, in hopes the new policy will reduce campus sexual assaults.

Earlier this summer, the University closed the Beta Theta Pi fraternity house following the serious injury of a female student who fell from a third story window. However, school spokeswoman Kate Carlisle said the decision to integrate Greek life on the campus was not related to any singular incident. Carlisle stated, “This has been the subject of ongoing concern and discussion among the people in the administration, the school community, the alumni community and so forth for a number of years.”

The University’s decision follows those of several other liberal arts colleges in the North East including Middlebury College in Vermont, Colby College in Maine, and Trinity College in Hartford.

Follow Michael Lotfi on Facebook & Twitter.

Ex-Police Chief, Accused of Sexual Assault on the Job, Sentenced to Probation

WAFB-TV 9 is reporting that former Sorrento, LA Police Chief Earl Theriot Jr., who plead guilty to lying to the FBI during a federal investigation into allegations that he sexually assaulted a 42-year-old woman while on the job, was sentenced by Chief US District Judge Brian Jackson last Thursday to 24 months probation and a $2,500 fine. He was also forced to step down from his position as a condition of his plea deal. During the trial, Theriot admitted that, while on the job, he encountered the alleged victim, who was found unresponsive and heavily inebriated during a 911 call, and took her back to his office, where he admitted to performing what he described as inappropriate sexual relations with her.

According to local news outlet The Advocate, Theriot claims the sexual relations were consensual, but the victim claims otherwise, characterizing the incident, which took place on November 1, 2013, as a sexual assault. She says that she was heavily intoxicated and that Theriot, upon taking her into custody and reviving her, said that he would not take her to jail if she performed oral sex on him. Then, she alleges that Theriot fed her vodka, left her handcuffed and tied under his desk with a belt for a four-hour period, and forced her to perform oral sex on him multiple times.

Theriot apologized for the incident in court, saying, “It’s a matter that cost me my law enforcement career and brought embarrassment to my family and town of Sorrento.” However, he did not apologize to the alleged victim, who has filed a lawsuit against him in civil court.

Assistant US Attorney Alan Stevens said, “This was a very, very serious crime. It’s more than an embarrassing situation… It’s unfortunate. [It] all took place under the color of law.” In exchange for the plea deal, federal prosecutors agreed not to press charges against Theriot for the alleged sexual assault. According to WBRZ, Chief US District Judge Brian Jackson cited the facts that Theriot is helping the FBI with an ongoing investigation, suffers from poor health, and once served in the military as his rationale for handing out the lenient 24-month probation sentence rather than six months in jail.

State-level sexual battery charges could still be filed against Theriot. District Attorney Ricky Babin indicated that his office was waiting for the conclusion of the federal case, at which time he could gain access to evidence collected by the FBI, before making the decision whether or not to file charges. The Advocate notes that Babin contested the idea that the victim in this case could have consented to the sexual encounter, saying that, if Theriot used his position of power to threaten the alleged victim with jail time in an effort to coerce her into sexual relations, the incident would not be considered consensual.

As a part of his plea deal, Theriot stepped down from his position as Police Chief back in February. His replacement will be chosen in a special election on November 4. On the same ballot, voters will also consider a proposition to abolish the Sorrento Police Department and the Police Chief position entirely, due to widespread accusations of harassment and officer misconduct throughout the organization. The Sorrento Police Department was recently largely defunded by the Town Council, lost its insurance, and currently only employs a single officer. Shortly after the department lost its insurance due to its ongoing scandals, at a point when Theriot was still chief and continued ordering patrols despite the lack of insurance, critics called for his resignation, to which he replied, according to The Advocate, “They can stick it.” If the town police force were to be abolished, the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office would take over responsibility for police coverage in Sorrento.

During Theriot’s federal trial, Chief US District Judge Brian Jackson blamed the Sorrento Police Department’s woes on Theriot’s flawed and corrupt leadership. Another local couple also filed suit against Theriot back in November of 2013 for an alleged warrantless search, which they believe was conducted on the basis of a personal vendetta, as the couple were supporters of another officer who filed sexual harassment charges against Theriot.

Cop Breaks 10-Year-Old’s Leg Then Sexually Assaults His Mom Claims Lawsuit

Court documents claim officers of the NYPD’s 63rd Precinct came to Krystle Silvera’s home looking for an ex-boyfriend at 7 a.m. on Jan. 30, 2013.

Silvera’s mother, a 61-year-old lung and brain cancer patient, answered the door, but couldn’t understand why the officers were there. That is when Silvera’s 10-year-old son picked up his moms phone and attempted to record the events taking place as he was “fascinated by the police, he looks up to them”, according to his mom Krystle Silvera.

The events alleged in court documents to have followed are extremely ominous. The officer, in violation of established case law, attempted to violate the child’s right to film by assaulting him according to the suit. Ms. Silvera is quoted by NY Daily News as saying, “I heard my son screaming, ‘You can’t do that! You’re hurting me! Don’t hit me!’ ”

According to court papers the cop kicked the boy in the shin breaking his leg. Her son was then put in handcuffs and restrained until they later realized he was only a child and removed the 10-year-old’s restraints.

It was during this commotion that Ms. Silvera, who had been getting her 5-year-old ready for school upstairs, ran downstairs dressed only in underclothes and into the commotion attempting to ensure her son was safe. The suit alleges Ms. Silvera, was grabbed by a cop who pulled her outside into the bitter cold. While putting her into restraints her breast came out exposing a nipple piercing.

“The officer flicked the piercing, he flicked the ring up with his finger on my right breast,” she said. “He said, ‘Is this what mothers look like these days?’

Then, in a common police tactic employed to cover up violations of individual’s rights, the police charged Silvera with assaulting the cops. She was released on $1,500 bail after being held for two days.

Upon her arrival home she noticed her son’s leg was swollen and bruised prompting her to take the boy to Kings County Medical Center, where an X-ray revealed his leg was fractured

Anthony Ofodile, the family’s attorney said, “I’ve seen a lot of police brutality cases, but nothing as low as this, kicking a 10-year-old boy.”

The events alleged to have transpired, paint an out of control police force with no respect for the constitutional rights or safety of the citizens they serve. The courts have consistently affirmed that photography is not a crime, and that individuals have a right to film law enforcement officers in the carrying out of their official public duties. Regardless of the child’s actions, there is no reason for a 10-year-old boy to have his leg broken by an officer of the law for the legal act of filming as the suit alleges.

Ultimately, it’s taxpayers that pay the costs associated with these suits, relating to alleged officer misconduct, such as this. The time has come to hold accountable the rogue officers that bring disgrace upon the shield. For more information on what it means to put the constitution first as a law enforcement officer visit Oath Keepers. To learn more about your rights when dealing with law enforcement visit Cop Block.

Follow Jay on Facebook and on Twitter @SirMetropolis