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Deputy Faces Rape, Kidnap Counts

Riverside County lawman is accused of forcing women to have sex to avoid arrest. His accusers are unreliable, his lawyer says.

August 24, 2004|Matthew Lopas | Times Staff Writer

A Riverside County sheriff's deputy was arrested Friday and charged with forcing two women to have sex with him to avoid being arrested.

David Gregory Kushner, a five-year veteran of the department, surrendered without incident after an arrest warrant was issued. He was freed after his father posted $500,000 bail.

Kushner, 33, faces three counts of forced oral sex, two counts of rape, one of sodomy and two of kidnapping with intent to commit rape.

"The allegations reflect the fact that Deputy Kushner used his position as a peace officer to force our two victims into sex acts," said Riverside County Deputy Dist. Atty. Mike Soccio, who is prosecuting the case.

According to the arrest warrant, one woman said that in May 2002, Kushner, who was assigned to Moreno Valley, pulled her over for a traffic violation and drove her around, trying to elicit information on drugs.

She allegedly told investigators she was forced to perform oral sex in exchange for not being arrested.

Another woman alleged that in July 2002 she was raped, sodomized and forced to perform oral sex to avoid being arrested on a felony warrant, according to court records.

A sheriff's deputy reported finding Kushner with a woman in a vehicle in a parking lot early in the morning at the same time the second incident took place, the arrest warrant alleged. A Sheriff's Department spokesman declined to comment further, citing Kushner's protection under the police officer's bill of rights. Arraignment is set for Sept. 17.

Kushner's attorney, Danuta Tuszynska, said that the charges were false and that the women making the claims were unreliable.

"These two women are not victims," she said. "They're criminals."

Tuszynska said that both women have criminal backgrounds and that her client would be more credible in court.

She said that after the first allegation was made in January 2004, deputies set up a sting operation involving Kushner that found no wrongdoing. After that, investigators sought out any woman he arrested to see if they could find someone to back up the claim, Tuszynska said. The second alleged victim made her statement in July.

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