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    United States Attorney's Office
    Central District of California

    Thom Mrozek
    Public Affairs Officer

    (213) 894-6947
    thom.mrozek@usdoj.gov



    Return to the 2008 Press Release Index
    Release No. 08-072

    May 29, 2008

    FORMER BELL POLICEMAN ARRESTED IN FEDERAL CIVIL RIGHTS CASE FOR ALLEGEDLY FORCING WOMAN TO HAVE SEX WITH HIM

    A 3½-year veteran of the Bell Police Department was arrested this morning after being named in a federal indictment that charges him with violating a woman’s civil rights by forcing her to have sex with him while he was in uniform.

    Feliciano Sanchez, 33, of Pico Rivera, was taken into custody without incident by special agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

    The two-count indictment returned yesterday by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles accused Sanchez of deprivation of rights under color of law and carrying a firearm during a crime of violence.

    According to the indictment, Sanchez sexually assaulted the victim on May 16, 2007. After conducting a traffic stop in the City of Bell, Sanchez allegedly drove the woman to a remote location, where he forced her to perform a sex act. The civil rights charge alleges that Sanchez was armed during the aggravated sexual assault, which involved the kidnapping of the victim.

    “Police officers are supposed to assist residents, not brutalize them,” said United States Attorney Thomas P. O’Brien. “This indictment outlines a disturbing incident in which Officer Sanchez allegedly used his badge and gun to sexually assault a female motorist. We simply will not tolerate this kind of conduct by law enforcement officials.”

    Sanchez, who was terminated from the Police Department in September 2007,  is expected to make his initial court appearance this afternoon in United States District Court in Los Angeles.

    “As demonstrated by this indictment, the FBI is committed to rooting out corruption and protecting civil liberties by investigating allegations of abuse under the provisions of the federal civil rights statutes,” said Salvador Hernandez, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI in Los Angeles.

    An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty in court.

    The civil rights charge carries a maximum statutory penalty of life in federal prison. The gun charge would automatically add five years to any sentence Sanchez receives for the civil rights offense.

    This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

     

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    Release No. 08-072
    Return to the 2008 Press Release Index