Two Los Angeles police officers charged with sexual assault while on duty

The alleged assaults occured from 2008 through 2011

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The Independent US

Two cops at the Los Angeles Police Department have been charged with sexually assaulting four women while on duty.

James Nichols, 44, and Luis Valenzuela, 43, were formally charged Wednesday on multiple counts of sexual assault including: forcible rape, rape under color of authority, oral copulation under color of authority and oral copulation by force, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office announced in a statement.

When Officer Nichols and Officer Valenzuela became partners in 2008, the pair allegedly began assaulting women until the end of their partnership in 2011. The victims — aged 19, 24, 25 and 34 at the time — were arrested at various locations on narcotics related offenses.

Officer Valenzuela has also been charged with one count of assault with a firearm for allegedly pointing a gun at one of the victims. 

“I will say again, any officer that abuses the public’s trust is not welcome in the LAPD and we will continue vigorously investigating officers accused of alleged crimes and cooperate fully with the District Attorney’s office,” LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said in a statement on Wednesday.

The veteran officers were relieved from duty in 2013 and haven't received a paycheck since, Chief Beck said.

Both Officer Nichols and Officer Valenzuela are set to be arraigned on Thursday and could spend up to life in prison if convicted.

Prosecutors are expected to set their bail at roughly $3.8 million a piece.

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