Two Los Angeles police officers are accused of forcing four women to engage in sex acts by threatening them and using their authority, the Associated Press reports.
According to the report, while one officer acted as a lookout in the front seat of a squad car, a 19-year-old woman, who was a drug informant, was forced to perform oral sex on the partner as she was told that “you have to do what the police tell you to do,” the teenager said in a federal court filing, the newswire notes.
Another woman, also a drug informant, was also forced into sex acts with the officers twice after they threatened her with jail. At least two other women have come forth with similar accounts.
On Wednesday the officers—James Nichols and Luis Valenzuela—were arrested and charged with repeatedly raping the four women over a three-year period, mostly while they were on duty. Charges against the two cops include rape under color of authority and oral copulation by force. Valenzuela is also charged with pointing a gun at one of the women. Both officers could face life in prison if convicted.
Nichols and Valenzuela, who have denied all claims against them, were scheduled to be arraigned Thursday. Prosecutors were reportedly asking that each officer be held on a bail of more than $3.5 million.
“These two officers have disgraced themselves, they disgraced this badge, they disgraced their oaths of office,” Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said Wednesday at a news conference. “It’s a violation of public trust.”
Read more at Talking Points Memo.