HOLLYWOOD—An ongoing investigation into the sexual assault of mentally and physically disabled women at a Los Angeles residential care facility, some of whom were in diapers, has so far revealed two suspects. The latest suspect is 27-year-old Los Angeles resident Ernie Lloyd, who surrendered to authorities at a Hollywood police station on Saturday, January 9.
Police anonymously received over 100 hours of grainy video footage of the abuses in March of last year. The footage, which took several months to digitally enhance in order to identify possible suspects, has so far led to artist sketches and photographs of four individuals. As many as 10 different people may have been involved in the crimes.
One victim in the case was identified on Monday, January 10. The 25-year-old woman has been questioned by authorities, who described her as extremely traumatized during their interview. She is now living at a residential care facility where she says she feels safe.
The other suspect identified and in custody is 42-year-old Bert Hicks, a former Los Angeles care facility worker. Hicks is currently serving prison time on two felony sex counts and two felony abuse counts against the one victim who has been identified. It is unknown if the crimes he was convicted of are the ones seen in the footage. Hicks was convicted in 2009 and is set for release from that sentence in 2012.
The victim alleged that Hicks forced her to marry him at an unknown location, and then brought her back to the facility where both Hicks and Lloyd assaulted her. The name of the care center where the abuses occurred has not been revealed.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has been receiving a multitude of tips and inquiries into the rapidly evolving case.
“We’ve had an overwhelming response of quality information that has reached the detectives and is keeping them very, very busy,” said LA County Sheriff Captain Mike Parker in a statement released on the department’s website. “They’re not getting any sleep. Please keep the calls and tips coming. This is exactly what we wanted.”
The video footage was provided by an anonymous tipster who has since revealed himself to authorities. He said he obtained the footage when he was given a computer from a drug addict and was asked to erase the data on the hard drive.
“We are very grateful to this man and are confident the public is too. He did the right thing by providing the footage to us,” said Detective Sergeant Dan Scott of the Sheriff’s Special Victims Bureau. “The only thing he has asked is that his identity remain confidential. We will of course respect his request.”
Ernie Lloyd was being held on $100,000 bail as of press time. Lloyd had already been identified from the police images before he turned himself in. The LA County District Attorney’s Office has stated that more medical information is needed before a case against Lloyd can be filed.
If you have information about this case, please contact the Special Victims Bureau at their special toll free hotline at 866-247-5877. Information can also be provided anonymously, by calling Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS, or by texting the letters TIPLA plus your tip to CRIMES. Information can also be given to lacrimestoppers.org.