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California Briefing / Bell

Ex-officer pleads guilty to assault

July 18, 2009|Ann M. Simmons

A former police officer has pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a female motorist and now faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, officials with the U.S. attorney's office said.

Feliciano Sanchez, 34, admitted that he stopped a woman for a traffic violation in May 2007 and took her in his patrol car to a location where he forced her to perform a sex act. Prosecutors said Sanchez was armed at the time.

A federal grand jury in Los Angeles indicted Sanchez last year on one count each of deprivation of rights under color of law and carrying a firearm during a crime of violence. But jurors could not reach a verdict, said Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office.

Since then, prosecutors have received more evidence against Sanchez and would have moved to try him again if he had not pleaded guilty, Mrozek said.

"We agreed to resolve this case by his guilty plea," Mrozek said.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for November.

-- Ann M. Simmons

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