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Press Release

Supervisor Charged With Aggravated Sexual Abuse Of Subordinate At Palo Alto VA Hospital

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

SAN JOSE – Onofre Salas-Lozano appeared in federal court today to face an indictment charging him with aggravated sexual abuse, sexual abuse, and making false statements to a federal agent during an investigation, announced United States Attorney Ismail J. Ramsey and Special Agent in Charge Jason Root of the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of the Inspector General (VA OIG). 

During today’s appearance in federal court, the government described that Salas-Lozano, 40, of Palo Alto, and the victim both worked for a janitorial services company that cleans the Palo Alto VA Hospital. The indictment charges that Salas-Lozano used force and fear to cause the victim to engage in a sex act at the hospital on July 2, 2021. At the time of the incident, Salas-Lozano was the victim’s direct supervisor. Salas-Lozano is also charged with lying to a VA OIG special agent during a subsequent investigative interview by claiming he never had sexual intercourse with the victim. 

The charges contained in the indictment are only allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law. Salas-Lozano is charged in the indictment’s first count with aggravated sexual abuse in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2241(a), which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. The second count in the indictment charges him with sexual abuse in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2242(1), which also carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. The third and last count in the indictment charges Salas-Lozano with making a materially false statement in a federal investigation, which carries a maximum penalty of eight years in prison. However, any sentence following a conviction would be imposed by the court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

Salas-Lozano was arraigned in San Jose federal court today before United States Magistrate Judge Nathanael M. Cousins. The government moved for detention and Salas-Lozano’s detention hearing is scheduled for May 3, 2023, at 1:00 p.m. before United States Magistrate Judge Susan van Keulen. Salas-Lozano was ordered detained until then.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Marissa Harris is prosecuting the case, with the assistance of Sahib Kaur. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by VA OIG, with assistance from VA Police. 

Updated April 28, 2023