Department of Justice seal U.S. Department of Justice

Debra Wong Yang
United States Attorney
Central District of California


United States Courthouse
312 North Spring Street
Los Angeles, California 90012
Release No. 06-105

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PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 3, 2006
For Information, Contact Public Affairs
Thom Mrozek (213) 894-6947

EX-LOS ANGELES COUNTY DEPUTY SHERIFF WHO VIOLATED CIVIL RIGHTS OF THREE WOMEN HE SEXUALLY ASSAULTED WHILE ON DUTY SENTENCED TO 30 YEARS IN PRISON


Los Angeles, CA - A former deputy with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department was sentenced today to 360 months in federal prison for raping a woman, forcing another woman to perform oral sex, and fondling a third woman's breasts, all while on duty.

Gabriel Gonzalez, 38, of Chino Hills, was sentenced this afternoon by United States District Judge Christina A. Snyder.

During the sentencing hearing, Judge Snyder heard from two of the victims who said the assaults had had a devastating impact on their lives. "I feel as if I am carrying a heavy weight that my rapist has forced me to carry my whole life," one woman told the court.

Gozalez was convicted of three civil rights offenses on February 27 following a two-week jury trial.

The evidence at trial showed that Gonzalez pulled over one woman for an alleged traffic violation, drove her to a secluded location, and raped her. Gonzalez stopped another woman for jaywalking, drove her to an alley and forced her to perform oral sex. Gonzalez stopped a third woman for an alleged traffic violation and fondled her breasts under the pretense of searching her for drugs.

"This officer willfully violated his duty to protect and to serve though an appalling series of sexual assaults," said Wan J. Kim, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department. "No one is above the law and the Department of Justice is committed to vigorously enforcing the criminal civil rights laws that the vast majority of law enforcement officers work tirelessly to uphold and enforce."

United States Attorney Debra Wong Yang stated: "Every sexual assault is a brutal and devastating crime. But, a sexual assault committed under the color of law is even more heinous and deserves to be punished appropriately."

Gonzalez was an eight-year veteran of the Sheriff's Department when he was suspended in August 2004. He quit the department earlier this year after being informed by the department that he was going to be terminated.

The case was investigated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It was prosecuted by attorneys from the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section of the United States Attorney's Office in Los Angeles and the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division.

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Release No. 06-105

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