February 17, 2016: Two LAPD Officers Charged With Sexually Assaulting Women While on Duty
Two veteran Los Angeles Police Department officers who worked as partners assigned to the Hollywood Division have been charged with repeatedly sexually assaulting four women, often while the pair was on duty, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced today.
James Nichols (dob 2/4/72) and Luis Valenzuela (5/11/72) are scheduled to be arraigned on Thursday in Department 30 at the Foltz Criminal Justice Center in case BA444092. Prosecutors will ask that bail be set at $3.83 million for Nichols and $3.76 million for Valenzuela. The case was filed on Tuesday.
Deputy District Attorneys Stephanie Sparagna and Ann Marie Wise with the Justice System Integrity Division are prosecuting the case.
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.
At the time the alleged assaults occurred, the victims were 19, 24, 25 and 34 years of age. Most, but not all, of the alleged sexual assaults occurred while the officers were on duty.
Nichols and Valenzuela are charged with multiple counts each of sexual assaults, including forcible rape, rape under color of authority, oral copulation under color of authority and oral copulation by force.
In addition, 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.
If convicted, Nichols and Valenzuela each face up to life in state prison.
The case remains under investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department.
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About the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office
Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey leads the largest local prosecutorial office in the nation. Her staff of nearly 1,000 attorneys, 300 investigators and 800 support staff members is dedicated to protecting our community through the fair and ethical pursuit of justice and the safeguarding of crime victims’ rights.