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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 2009 Press Release Index
    Release No. 09-085

    July 17, 2009

    FORMER BELL POLICE OFFICER PLEADS GUILTY TO FEDERAL CIVIL RIGHTS CRIME FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT

    LOS ANGELES – A former officer with the Bell Police Department pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court to a federal civil rights charge for sexually assaulting a female motorist.

    Feliciano Sanchez, 34, pleaded guilty late yesterday to one count of deprivation of rights under color of law, admitting that he sexually assaulted the victim by forcing her to provide oral sex after stopping her for a traffic violation. Sanchez admitted that on May 16, 2007, he took the victim in his patrol car to a location where he placed his hand on his duty weapon and forced her to orally copulate.

    Sanchez pleaded guilty before United States District Judge Valerie Baker Fairbank, who is scheduled to sentence the defendant on November 18. At sentencing, Sanchez faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in federal prison.

    “Officer Sanchez brutalized a person he had sworn to serve,” said United States Attorney Thomas P. O'Brien. “As a result of his criminal conduct, Mr. Sanchez now faces a substantial amount of time in federal prison. His conduct eroded public confidence in law enforcement and cast a pall over his former colleagues who obey the law, proudly working to preserve public safety.”

    Loretta King, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division in the Department of Justice, stated: “Law enforcement officers have a duty to protect the safety of all citizens, and citizens have the right to expect officers to help keep them from harm's way. Officers who abuse their powers in cases such as this not only violate the law, they violate the public trust. The Justice Department will continue to vigorously investigate and prosecute those who abuse their power.”

    The case was investigated by agents from the FBI's Los Angeles Field Office. 

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    Release No. 09-085
    Return to the 2009 Press Release Index