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Two LA police officers charged with sexual assault

By Shawn Price   |   Feb. 18, 2016 at 7:23 AM

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Two Los Angeles police officers were charged with multiple counts of rape and sexual assault of women, court records said.

Luis Valenzuela, 43, and James C. Nichols, 44, were charged with more than a dozen counts each of abusing four women between 2008 and 2011, allegedly forcing the women to have sex or oral sex under threat of arrest.

Each of the women were first arrested under "narcotics-related" charges, prosecutors said. The officers then allegedly exploited them as informants.

The officers either individually or together committed some of the crimes in the back seat of their unmarked police car, court records said. Valenzuela is also alleged to have assaulted one of the women with a gun.

"It is a wonderful development, although it is years overdue," said Dennis Chang, an attorney representing the women. "It's a ray of light that these women will finally see some justice."

Both officers were relieved of duty two years ago. If convicted, the officers could face life in prison.

"These two officers have disgraced themselves," Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck said at a news conference. "They've disgraced this badge. They've disgraced this office."

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