Los Angeles Police officers charged with raping women while on duty

The men allegedly preyed on vulnerable women before threatening them with arrest unless they engaged in sexual acts

Two police officers from the Los Angeles Police Department have been charged with raping and sexually assaulting women whilst on duty.

Luis Valenzuela, 43, and James C. Nichols, 44, have been charged with more than a dozen offences, many of which are alleged to have been committed in the back seat of an unmarked police car, The Los Angeles Times reports.

According to court records, the men are accused of preying on women whilst driving the unmarked police car together and threatening some victims with arrest if they did not comply with their demands. Other alleged victims were coerced into sexual acts by being told they would receive lenient police treatment if they did so. 

A number of sex workers have alleged that they were approached by the officers on patrol and told they would not be arrested if they performed sexual acts on the men.

The offences are alleged to have taken place between 2008 and 2011. The men were charged on Tuesday.

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck told local press: “These two officers have disgraced themselves, they’ve disgraced this badge, they’ve disgraced their oath of office. I am extremely troubled by what they’ve done. It’s a violation of public trust. That’s what makes it so horrific.”

The men are due to appear in court later today and are held on a $3.5 million bail.