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Press Release

Former Federal Agent Sentenced to Life in Prison for Sexually Assaulting Two Women and Preventing Them from Reporting Attacks

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Central District of California

RIVERSIDE, California – A former special agent with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) was sentenced today to life in federal prison for sexually assaulting two women and abusing his official position to prevent them from reporting his violent conduct.

John Jacob Olivas, 48, of Riverside, was sentenced by United States District Judge Jesus G. Bernal, who also ordered Olivas to pay $17,125 in restitution.

At today’s hearing, Judge Bernal said, Olivas had engaged in “systematic torture of women” and was an individual whose “senseless” crimes would cause his victims to “live with this trauma for the rest of their lives.”

At the conclusion of an 11-day trial, Olivas was found guilty in December 2022 of three counts of deprivation of rights under color of law. Olivas was ordered remanded into federal custody after the verdict was read.

Olivas began his career with Immigration and Customs Enforcement in 2007 and resigned in September 2015 after working as an HSI special agent for just over six years. He sexually assaulted the two victims in 2012.

Olivas attempted to rape one woman in January 2012 after making it clear to her that the police would not be responsive to any report she would make about Olivas because he was “above a cop,” and “untouchable” and “invisible” to police due to his position as a federal agent, according to the victim’s trial testimony. Olivas also threatened the victim that he could make her “disappear,” have her children taken from her, and get her arrested on fake criminal charges, the victim testified.

Olivas raped another woman in September 2012 and then again in November 2012. Both times, Olivas made it clear to the victim that police would not respond to any report she might make about attacks by him, causing the victim to believe that he was “invincible” to the criminal justice system, the victim testified. She also testified at trial that Olivas pointed his HSI-issued service weapon into her back moments before he sexually assaulted her in September 2012.

Both victims endured Olivas’s “violent, escalating, controlling, and intimidating behavior, which included his repeated brandishing of HSI credentials to [them] and asserting that he was above the law,” prosecutors wrote in court documents. In all three sexual assaults, Olivas violated the victims’ constitutional rights to liberty and bodily integrity.

“Olivas is a sexual predator who willfully abused his power as a federal agent to torment his victims, causing them physical, emotional, and psychological pain,” said United States Attorney Martin Estrada. “Those who abuse their power as public officials must be held accountable. We hope the sentence imposed in this civil rights case eases the victims’ anguish and reminds would-be offenders that there is a stiff penalty for law enforcement officials who violate their vow to enforce and uphold the law.”

“John Jacob Olivas not only used the power of his position to commit horrific acts of violence and silence his victims, his actions while employed as a government agent served to undermine the efforts of honorable law enforcement officials,” said Donald Alway, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI's Los Angeles Field Office. “This significant sentence should not only deliver a measure of justice to his victims, but restore trust in government as we hold accountable individuals who use their position to violate civil rights.”

“Former SA Olivas willfully abused his position as a special agent and his acts were reprehensible,” said Jeffrey J. Gilgallon, Special Agent in Charge of ICE’s Office of Professional Responsibility’s Western Region. “Today’s sentencing sends a clear message that no law enforcement officer is above the law. OPR remains committed to working with our law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute instances of abuse of authority.”

The FBI and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Office of Professional Responsibility investigated this matter.

Assistant United States Attorneys Frances S. Lewis of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section and Eli A. Alcaraz of the Riverside Branch Office prosecuted this case.


Ciaran McEvoy
Public Information Officer
(213) 894-4465

Updated May 8, 2023

Public Corruption
Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 23-099