Two longtime Los Angeles Police Department officers are accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting women while on duty, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced today. James Nichols and Luis Valenzuela, the alleged perpetrators, were partners, working out of the department’s Hollywood precinct.
Nichols and Valenzuela are accused of assaulting four women between 2008 and 2011. According to a press release from the DA’s office, all four women had been arrested by the pair on drug charges at some point. Most of the alleged assaults took place while the officers were on duty, and some of them were perpetrated in their patrol car, according to the release. The victims were 19, 24, 25, and 34 years old at the time of the alleged assaults.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Nichols and Valenzuela were under departmental investigation for sexual assault in 2013. According to that report, the officers allegedly used the threat of jail time to coerce women into performing sex acts. It is not immediately clear whether any action was taken on the investigation between then and the charges filed against the officers this week.
Both men were charged with multiple sex assault crimes, and Valenzuela faces an additional gun charge for allegedly pointing his weapon at one of the victims. If convicted, they each face up to a life sentence in prison.