LOS ANGELES, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- Two Los Angeles police officers could be fired and may face criminal charges after allegedly coercing women to have sex with them while on duty, officials said.
James Nichols and Luis Valenzuela, both 41, 12- and 16-year veterans of the force, respectively, were initially suspended without pay when the allegations first surfaced. They now face a disciplinary panel that will decide whether they lose their jobs.
While police Chief Charlie Beck has declined to comment citing confidentiality in personnel matters, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday information about the case was made public during the course of an ongoing criminal investigation when prosecutors applied for a search warrant.
The court documents state Nichols and Valenzuela, narcotics officers assigned to the Hollywood district, allegedly singled out women who had been arrested for various drug-related crimes and threatened them with probation violations that would send them back to prison if they didn't perform sex acts. Sometimes they would drive the women to a remote area while one served as a lookout while the other engaged in sex acts with the women. Sometimes they acted alone.
Four women are cited in the court filings as alleged victims.
While no decision has been made about criminal prosecution, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office said the case remains under active investigation before prosecutors make that determination.
Nichols' attorney said the women who have accused the officers "have no credibility" and Nichols has denied wrongdoing. Valenzuela and his lawyer couldn't be reached to comment.