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Grand jury indicts Los Angeles deputy on sexual misconduct charges

A Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy has been indicted on new assault charges of three young sisters, who were the daughters of a woman he'd been in a relationship with. Photo by Mike Nelson/EPA-EFE
A Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy has been indicted on new assault charges of three young sisters, who were the daughters of a woman he'd been in a relationship with. Photo by Mike Nelson/EPA-EFE

Aug. 12 (UPI) -- A Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy the prosecutors declined to bring sexual misconduct charges against in 2006 has now been indicted by a grand jury in connection with new assault charges of three young sisters.

The grand jury on Wednesday indicted Sean Essex on 18 counts of oral copulation of a child, 12 counts of lewd acts upon a child under the age of 14, two counts of continuous sexual abuse of a child under 14 and one count of possession of material depicting a child sex act.

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Essex faces up to life in prison for the charges. The victims in question ranged in age from 7 to 13 at the time of the accused assaults.

Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon acknowledged the office's choice not to file charges against Essex in a 2006 case against him. That victim's case is included in the new charges, making four victims total.

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"Sexually assaulting a child not only robs them of their innocence but also leaves lasting mental trauma," Gascon said in a statement. "This is one of the most egregious crimes my office encounters and it is made worse when the crime is committed by someone who has been entrusted to protect them and our community from harm.

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"My office's Bureau of Victim Services will provide the assistance and resources to the victims, in this case, to help them in their healing process."

Spencer Lucas, a lawyer for the sisters and their mother, said Essex was in a relationship with the mother when he assaulted two of the girls.

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He remained in contact with all three girls after that relationship ended, where Lucas said he assaulted them in his patrol car after picking them up.

"It's absolutely shocking to us that the county didn't do more to investigate and bring this terrible perpetrator to justice in 2006," Lucas told the Los Angeles Times.

"He was a dangerous predator, and this whole terrible abuse that these poor little girls went through should have been stopped, and it never should have happened."

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