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Palmdale sheriff’s deputy charged with rape, soliciting bribes


LOS ANGELES, Calif. — A deputy who worked patrol in the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station was behind bars today in connection with charges that he raped a woman and solicited bribes from her and another woman while on duty nearly three years ago.

Jose Rigoberto Sanchez, a seven-year department veteran, was taken into custody at his home about 5:30 p.m. Monday, according to the sheriff’s department.

Sanchez, 28, remained jailed on nearly $1.5 million bail while awaiting arraignment Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court on 11 felony counts.

He is charged with two counts of soliciting a bribe and one count each of kidnapping to commit another crime, rape by fear or duress, rape under color of authority, sexual penetration by a foreign object, sexual penetration under color of authority, sodomy by fear or duress, sodomy under color of authority, oral copulation by fear or duress and oral copulation under color of authority.

The charges follow an extensive investigation by the District Attorney’s Justice System Integrity Division and involve  traffic stops of two female motorists.

All but one of the counts involve a woman who was stopped Sept. 22, 2010.

Sanchez allegedly offered not to arrest the woman on an outstanding warrant in exchange for sex, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

Two nights later, he pulled over another woman on suspicion of driving under the influence and allegedly solicited a bribe in the form of sexual activity, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

The sheriff’s investigation began with a tip from an informant and the case was turned over to the District Attorney’s Office in January 2011, authorities said.

Sanchez was relieved of duty with pay in 2010 and without pay starting Monday, when he was arrested, officials said.

If convicted, he faces up to life in state prison, according to the District Attorney’s Office.