HOLLYWOOD—Two veteran Los Angeles Police Department officers who worked as partners who were assigned to the Hollywood Division were charged with repeatedly sexually assaulting four women, often while the pair was on duty, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced on Wednesday, February 17.
James Nichols, 44 and Luis Valenzula, 43 were scheduled to be arraigned in court on Thursday, February 18 to face multiple counts each of sexual assaults, including rape, rape under color of authority, oral copulation under color of authority and oral copulation by force.
Valenzuela is charged with one count of assault with a firearm for allegedly pointing a gun at one of the victims. The complaint alleges multiple victim allegations and principal armed as to each defendant.
Prosecutors are asking that bail be set at $3.83 million for Nichols and $3.76 million for Valenzuela. The case was filed with the courts on Tuesday. Deputy District Attorneys Stephanie Sparagna and Ann Marie Wise with the Justice System Integrity Division are prosecuting the case.
The ages of the victims were 19, 24, 25 and 34 at the time the alleged assaults occurred. According to a press release from the LADA Office, most, but not all of the sexual assaults took place while the officers were on duty.
Beginning in December 2008, after they became partners, and continuing through March 2011, the two men allegedly began sexually assaulting women at various locations, including in their police vehicle, prosecutors said. All four women were arrested at various times by the officers during narcotics-related offenses.
If convicted, Nichols and Valenzuela can face up to life in state prison. The case is still under investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department.