A former police officer in California faces a federal indictment in connection with alleged sexual assaults of four women while he was on duty, the unsealed documents revealed on Friday.
Ex-Sanger Police Department officer J. DeShawn Torrence, a 38-year-old from Corcoran, was hit with 10 counts of deprivation of rights under color of law. The indictment by grand jury, which dates back to July 28, specifies on the most serious counts that the offenses allegedly included aggravated sexual abuse or attempted aggravated sexual abuse.
“Four of the charged counts alleged each carries a maximum statutory penalty of life in prison and a $250,000 fine. One count carries a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years,” the Department of Justice said in a press release on the case. “The remaining five counts each carry a maximum statutory penalty of one year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.”
The women, identified in documents only as M.C.G., L.S., S.L., and B.H., said that the then-law enforcement officer committed the crimes over a time period spanning from August 2017 to June 2021.
Around Aug. 1, 2017 to Oct. 18, 2017, Torrence is accused of “penetrat[ing] M.C.G’s vulva with his penis without M.C.G.’s consent and without a legitimate law enforcement purpose” and “caus[ing] his penis to have contact with M.C.G.’s mouth without M.C.G.’s consent and without a legitimate law enforcement.” That same October or the November following, Torrence allegedly touched L.S.’s breast and buttocks without her consent.
Documents allege that on or around March 5, 2018, the defendant then “directed S.L. to remove her shirt” under the “pretext” of photographing her injuries. Around three days latter, Torrence allegedly touched S.L.’s genitalia, breast, and buttocks without her consent.
Finally, on or around June 23, 2021, Torrence allegedly “caused B.H. to touch his penis without her consent” and “put his mouth on B.H’s breast without her consent.”
Court records show that Torrence was arraigned by video conference on Friday and entered a not guilty plea. The defendant remains in federal custody. A detention hearing is expected to take place in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California at 2 p.m. PT on Wednesday. Mohamad Baydoun was listed as Torrence’s defense lawyer.
The DOJ noted that Torrence is no longer an employee of the Sanger Police Department. Sanger, California is a city located east of Fresno.
Read the indictment below:
[Image via Fox 26 screengrab]
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