LA County Sheriff's Deputy Arrested, Accused of On-Duty Rape

Internal affairs investigators arrested a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy Monday on suspicion of rape and other sex crimes, along with bribery of victims, authorities said.

Deputy Jose Rigaberto Sanchez, 28, faces 11 felony counts stemming from incidents when he was on duty in 2010, according to a Sheriff's Department statement. The patrol deputy, most recently stationed at the Palmdale station, has been on paid leave since someone reported the alleged crimes that year.

His paid leave ended Monday, the statement said.

Charges against the seven-year veteran of the department include: sexual penetration under the color of authority, soliciting a bribe from alleged victims and rape under fear or duress.

"On duty, the deputy allegedly was trying to elicit favors from individuals that he was threatening to arrest," said Los Angeles County sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore. He did not elaborate on what the favors included.

Sanchez also is accused of coercing a woman into having sex, threatening to arrest her if she didn't comply.

Investigators arrested Sanchez at 5:30 p.m. at his home, according to the statement. He was booked at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station and held on $1.4 million bail, according to sheriff's records.

The Sheriff's Department had turned over the case to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office in January 2011, according to the sheriff's statement. 

The statement said Sanchez's arrest followed a six-month internal affairs investigation. However, the department remained silent about what, if any, actions were taken in the two years between the District Attorney's office becoming involved and the six-month investigation that would have begun this year.

Sanchez was scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in downtown Los Angeles.

The Sheriff's Department declined to release additional details or a booking photograph of the deputy.

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