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Press Release

Former Sanger Police Officer Charged with Multiple Civil Rights Violations Involving Sexual Assault

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

FRESNO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a 10-count indictment that was unsealed today charging a former Sanger Police Department officer with deprivation of constitutional rights under color of law for sexually assaulting four women with whom he interacted during the course of his duties.

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert, and Acting Special Agent in Charge Dennis Guertin of the FBI Sacramento Field Office made the announcement.

According to the indictment, on multiple occasions from August 2017 to June 2021, J. Deshawn Torrence, 38, of Corcoran, California, engaged in various forms of nonconsensual sexual conduct, ranging from directing a victim to remove her clothing without a legitimate law enforcement purpose to committing aggravated sexual abuse, all while serving as a police officer. Torrence is no longer employed by the Sanger Police Department.

This case is being investigated by the FBI Sacramento Field Office with assistance from the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office. Special Litigation Counsel Fara Gold of the Criminal Section of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Escobar are prosecuting the case.

Four of the charged counts alleged each carries a maximum statutory penalty of life in prison and a $250,000 fine. One count carries a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison. The remaining five counts each carry a maximum statutory penalty of one year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Updated August 5, 2022

Civil Rights