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Officer allegedly tried to coerce women into sex

October 18, 2008|Richard Winton | Times Staff Writer

A Los Angeles police officer is under investigation for allegedly trying to force women he met while on duty to have sex with him, law enforcement sources said Friday.

Police officials confirmed that Officer Russell Mecano, an eight-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department, was arrested earlier this week on suspicion of soliciting a sex act, but declined to release further details in the case, saying a judge had ordered that court records in the ongoing probe remain secret. Specifically, the judge has ordered that a criminal indictment against Mecano be sealed.

Mecano, 40, was taken into custody at the West Los Angeles police station, where he worked as a patrol officer. He was released a short time later in lieu of $127,000 bail, LAPD spokesman Lt. John Romero said. Mecano is scheduled to be arraigned Nov. 6.

Two law enforcement sources familiar with the case said the alleged victims were young women Mecano had met while on duty last summer. The sources said Mecano allegedly attempted to coerce women to engage in sex acts with him in exchange for not pursuing some sort of law enforcement action against them.

In one incident, detectives were investigating allegations that Mecano sexually assaulted a woman behind a building, sources said. In another incident, Mecano allegedly tried to force a woman to go to a motel with him, the sources said.

District attorney officials said they could not comment on the Mecano investigation because the case remains under seal.

Los Angeles Police Commission President Anthony Pacheco, who said he had been briefed on the probe, also declined to comment.

LAPD officials said they have ordered that Mecano be assigned to home pending the resolution of the investigation. A person answering the telephone at Mecano's residence Friday said he was not there.

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richard.winton@latimes.com

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