By Edwin Folven, 1/09/2013
The Los Angeles Police Department’s Internal Affairs Unit is investigating two officers who were reportedly most recently assigned to the Hollywood Division’s Vice Unit after four women came forward with allegations that the officers forced the women to have sex with them.
The department is releasing very little information about the ongoing investigation, which is routine for internal affairs matters, according to LAPD spokesman, Bruce Borihanh, who confirmed there is an ongoing investigation into officer misconduct, but declined to provide the officers’ names or any other information. LAPD Chief Charlie Beck released a statement.
“I am shocked and saddened by these allegations of criminal misconduct,” Beck said. “We will investigate this matter thoroughly and if proven to be true, we will prosecute the officers both administratively and criminally.”
Media reports have named the officers as Luis Valenzuela, a 15-year veteran of the LAPD, and James Nichols, who has been with the department for 12 years.
According to reports, the officers had either arrested the victims previously, or the victims had worked with them as informants. Some of the victims reportedly told police that the officers would pick them up in an unmarked vehicle and force them to have sex in exchange for not taking them to jail, or under the guise of seeking information, and then forcing them to have sex.
It was not disclosed where the incidents occurred, but some of the victims allegedly claim the officers drove them to a secluded location. The reports indicate the misconduct may have been going on since at least 2009.
The officers were expected to be removed from duty and assigned to their homes pending the outcome of the investigation.