A civilian Los Angeles County sheriff's volunteer was arrested Thursday on suspicion of slapping and sexually molesting a Tujunga woman after using a police-style flashing red light to halt her car, Burbank police reported.
Nikki Amorosino, 39, was being held in lieu of $5,000 bail on suspicion of felony sexual battery, said Sgt. Don Goldberg. Arraignment is scheduled Monday in Burbank Municipal Court, he said.
The 39-year-old victim, who is married to a California Highway Patrol officer, was treated for bruises and scratches at St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank following the 8 a.m. Wednesday attack, Goldberg said.
The woman wrote down the license plate number of the van that pulled her over, and police traced it to Amorosino's Arleta home, where he was arrested, Goldberg said.
Sheriff's Deputy Pat Hunter said Amorosino, a self-employed fireworks technician, was a volunteer in the department's media resources office in Whittier, which produces training films for deputies and recruits. Officials in the office could not be reached for comment Thursday, but Goldberg said sheriff's officials told him that they had ended Amorosino's connection with the department because of his arrest.
Pulled in Front of Car
Police said the assault occurred after Amorosino repeatedly pulled in front of the woman's car as she drove south on Buena Vista Street. When the woman attempted several times to pass Amorosino's slow-moving van, he caught up with her and again pulled in front of her car, Goldberg said.
Amorosino then pulled alongside the woman's car, put a flashing red light atop his van and motioned for the woman to stop, Goldberg said. The woman, thinking that the man was a police officer, stopped and got out of her car at Buena Vista and Victory Boulevard, Goldberg said. Amorosino, enraged and shouting obscenities, ran up to the woman, identified himself as a sheriff's deputy, grabbed her arms and slapped her head, Goldberg said.
Amorosino then allegedly threw the woman against the side of his van, reached under her blouse and grabbed her right breast, Goldberg said. When the woman yelled "Rape!," Amorosino returned to his van and drove off, Goldberg said.
Police searching the van after Amorosino's arrest found a red light believed to be the one used to stop the woman's car, a sheriff's deputy's cap with badge, a pair of handcuffs and several explosive devices, Goldberg said. The Los Angeles Police Department bomb squad was called to take custody of the explosives, he said.