LOS ANGELES, Sept. 5 (UPI) -- Prosecutors said an ex-San Bernardino, Calif., police officer was arrested Thursday on charges he forced prostitutes to have sex with him while he was on duty.
Andre Birotte Jr., U.S. attorney for the Central District of California, said Jose Jesus Perez, 46, was indicted on four civil rights counts.
Perez, who was fired from the San Bernardino Police Department last year after being accused of misconduct, was taken into custody in Denton, Texas, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The indictment alleges Perez committed aggravated sexual abuse "while acting under the color of law" during a period of several months in 2011, and that in one case he forced a woman to perform oral sex on him while he was armed and in uniform.
The two alleged victims, whose names had not been released, told investigators they had sex with Perez because "they feared for their well-being because he was a police officer," prosecutors said in a news release.
A spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office said Perez could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted.
An FBI agent said in an affidavit Perez -- who worked for the Los Angeles Police Department before joining the San Bernardino force -- had provided informal training for other police officers in dealing with prostitutes.